Can My Landlord Tow My Car For Expired Tags? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

At the apartment complex that I lived in, there is one little rule that no one wants to ignore: the parking rule. It’s common knowledge (and heavily advertised) that you do not park in a certain lot without prior permission. Having an expired tag is a bad move, too. When I first moved in, I wondered whether this is legal.

Whether or not your landlord is allowed to tow your car depends on the state you live in. Most states allow landlords to tow cars that are not authorized to be on the property. This includes cars that are using an expired tag.

Watching your car drive off without you is never a good feeling. Before you decide to risk your parking job, it’s time to take a look at what local driving laws mean for you.

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Are Landlords Allowed To Tow Cars With Expired Parking Tags?

If you are choosing to take a risk with your parking, then you need to take a look at both your state and local laws. Some states bar landlords from towing tenants from their property regardless of whether it’s the registration, insurance, or apartment window tag that’s expired. However, most agree that it is within a landlord’s right. The majority of states will allow it provided that:

  • The landlord has signs present mentioning the tow penalty. Most states also make a point of requiring landlords to tell people where they can pick up their cars. This primarily is related to tags that involve apartment parking, not registration tags.
  • The tag is actually expired. It has to be visible and verifiably expired.
  • The car is parked for a long period of time. Pickups and drop-offs are not considered to be major periods of time.
  • The landlord has to notify local law enforcement of the tow. This includes providing information on the make, model, license plate number, and vehicle. They have to do this prior to the tow actually happening.

What Other Penalties Can A Landlord Have For Expired Apartment Parking Tags?

There are other options a landlord can pursue if towing the car is out of the question. The most common issues include the following:

  • Tickets. Most landlords can ask for city ordinances that protect their properties from improper parking. If they want to, they can call the city to ask them to ticket the wrongly-parked car.
  • Fines. If the tag is expired and from a person who lives in the building, they may have the right to fine the responsible tenant.
  • Trespassing Charges. Repeat offenders who don’t even have a tag often find themselves in court for trespassing. This is a misdemeanor in almost all states.

Can You Fight A Tow Fee For Expired Parking Tags?

It all depends on the state you live in, the laws, as well as your particular situation. In most cases, a lawyer who deals with traffic tickets could help you out. However, most tow fees are going to be hard to fight. You have to prove that you have a right to be on the property and that your tag wasn’t expired in most cases.

Can A Landlord Tow A Car For Expired Registration Tags?

Once again, this depends on the state laws. In most states, a landlord cannot tow a car as a result of expired registration tags. This is primarily a DMV/MVC issue. If you have the right to park in your apartment complex, then the registration of the car in question doesn’t matter. I mean, you’re not driving it, are you?

However, there are a handful of states that allow landlords to remove unregistered or uninsured cars from their parking lots. This is because many states assume that unregistered vehicles (or vehicles with expired registration tags) are abandoned. It’s perfectly reasonable for a landlord to want to remove abandoned property from their parking lot.

How Does A Landlord Tow A Car For Expired Registration Tags?

Most of the states that allow a landlord to tow a car won’t leave you in the dark about it. For example, in Texas, a landlord has to give you a 10-day notice in writing about the tow.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, your landlord has to attach a note to the car explaining the reason for the tow, and the registration tags have to be 60 days late. If they are only recently expired, then your landlord cannot tow them.

As you can see, a little bit of research does a lot of good. The more you read up on local driving and vehicle laws, the better equipped you’ll be.

How Long Does A Car With Expired Tags Have To Be Parked Before It’s Towed?

Generally speaking, a car has to be parked in the same place for 72 hours before most cities consider it to be abandoned. However, each city and state has its own rules regarding parked cars that have old registrations. This is why we strongly suggest contacting a property lawyer before you decide to let a registration tag expire.

What Should You Do If Your Tag Expired And You Live In An Apartment?

Whether it’s a parking tag or a registration tag, the answer is the same. The best thing that you can do is alert your landlord of the situation and then work to update your tags as soon as possible. This accomplishes three things:

  • It lets your landlord know of the situation. Your landlord can’t give you an exception if they aren’t aware of what’s going on.
  • It gives you a little extra time to update the tag. At the very least, talking to your landlord will buy you a little extra time if you need it.
  • Finally, updating your tags helps avoid this problem in the future. Everyone has moments where something will escape their minds from time to time. The sooner you fix this, the less likely it is that you will have a tow in your future.

Can A Landlord Deny You A Parking Tag?

In most (if not all) states, a landlord is not legally required to provide you a parking space. Many apartment complexes also don’t use parking tags. Many apartment complexes offer parking on a first come, first serve basis. So, yes, a landlord can deny you a parking tag.

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Related Questions

Can you be towed in an absence of signs?

It depends on the state. In a handful of states, it is possible to get your car towed without signs being present. However, most landlords and businesses will still put a sign on there. This helps prevent people from parking there in the first place, thereby reducing the number of phone calls to the towing company. It’s always best to err on the side of caution.

What should you do if you had your car towed at your apartment?

If you had a car towed at your apartment complex, the first thing you should do is call the landlord to find out where it is towed to, as well as the fees associated with the tow. You will need to pay fees to get your car out of impound. In some cases, you may choose to fight the tow fee and impound fee in court.The best way to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to find out why your car was towed. So, make sure that you learn the parking rules and avoid making the same mistake again.

If someone parks in your driveway, can you tow them?

If someone parks in your driveway without consent, you have the right to tow them—with some specifics. You need to call the police in order to get the car towed, and make sure that they provide the car owner with details on how to get their car back. Ideally, though, you’ll simply ask the person not to park in their driveway.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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