Florida League of Cities

Towing and Storage (Monitor) – Passed 

CS/CS/HB 179 (Bell) and CS/CS/SB 774 (Perry) make changes related to towing-storage operator practices, including allowable fees, payment, lien requirements, sale of unclaimed vehicles, and record retention. Specifically, the bill does the following:

•Reduce the timeframe in which a towing-storage operator must send the notice of lien from seven to five business days and reduce storage charges that may be charged if a lienor fails to provide this notice.

•Provide that a towing-storage operator may only charge certain fees.

•Require towing-storage operators to accept specified forms of payment.

•Increase the timeframe an unclaimed vehicle or vessel three years of age or newer may be sold by a lienor from 50 days to 57 days from the storage date and requires the notice of lien must not be sent less than 52 days before the sale.

•Increase the timeframe for the public notice requirement related to sale on an unclaimed vehicle by a towing-storage operator from ten days to twenty days before the sale.

•Require a towing-storage operator to make a towed vehicle available for inspection during normal business hours within one hour after arrival at a storage facility.

•Require a towing-storage operator to accept electronic titles as well as paper titles as evidence of a person’s interest in a vehicle or vessel. 

•Require a towing-storage operator to retain records of all vehicles and vessels recovered, towed or stored; all notice publications and certified mailings; and fees for at least three years.

•Provide that foreclosing a storage lien on a vehicle or vessel must be through the process as opposed to the warehouse lien and landlord and tenant statutes. 

•Create notice and bond requirements for foreclosure of storage liens on vehicles or vessels held by self-storage facilities. 

•Provide that counties and cities that have established maximum rates for what can be charged for cleanup and disposal must ensure that those rates are published on its website. In areas where no maximum rates have been established, the maximum rates established by the Division of Florida Highway Patrol will apply. 

•SB 202 (Rodriguez) preempts counties and cities from imposing any regulations upon a towing-storage operator more stringent than those within this legislation. 

CS/CS/HB 179 passed the House (115-0) and the Senate (33-0) and is awaiting action by the Governor. (Wagoner)