Thursday, February 13, 2014

Texas Apartment Association Members On Notice - Quit Taking Kickbacks or Expect to Pay

To all apartment complexes in Texas who are members of the Texas Apartment Association thru their local association and parking facilities that tow vehicles:

Take notice, if a property manager or owner accepts anything of value from their towing company, expect to pay in excess of $12,000 minimum for every vehicle towed from their property, regardless the reason the vehicle is towed. ($10K attorney fees, $2K damages)

For 20 years, many property managers have accepted something of value from their towing company for the right to tow vehicles without the owner or operator's consent.  If you accept anything, rather it be food, parking permits, additional signage than what is required by State Law, luncheons for property staff, red warning stickers, allow the towing company to send the certified letter for expired stickers, sign a towing contract with a hold harmless clause, or allow the towing company to place orange warning stickers on the vehicles, you best have a good attorney, as tow victims with attorneys are now going directly after whoever authorized the tow, in form of a "statutory violation lawsuit", to which entitles attorney fees.

In recent lawsuit in Dallas, a Judge awarded a tow victim $12,307.39, of this amount, $10,000 was attorney fees for the tow victim plus $1000 plus triple what your tow company charged the vehicle owner.  In Houston last month, a property management company was slammed with a $21,739.10 Judgement because the towing company installed the towing signs.  There were 3 tow victims in this case, all towed for expired stickers, without the 10 day certified letter being sent by the apartment complex, not the towing company.

Every apartment association in Texas has a Code of Ethics, it's time members start obeying them as your chances of winning a statutory violation lawsuit is extremely slim, considering the number of violations found within the parking facility and the growing number of attorneys signing up to be part of Texas Towing Compliance's Legal Teams positioned around the state.

It's way cheaper just to obey the law and refuse anything of value from your towing company.

Case in point: A wrecker driver in San Antonio charged a vehicle owner an unauthorized drop fee while still on the property, the property management company left court with a judgment against them for $1699.75 due to the actions of their towing company.

Also, two property managers were arrested in Court in the DFW area recently after being found guilty the second time, which is an arrestable offense, a Class B misdemeanor because of illegal towing.

So, is it really worth your staff going to jail behind criminal behavior involving illegal towing or being hit with a judgment of $12,000 all because you chose to take the advice of your towing company, instead of just obeying the law?