Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Seattle City Council to consider legislation to cap towing rates
The Seattle City Council will pursue regulating towing companies in response to the egregious towing fines that have recently come to light.
“In response to Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times article about excessive towing fees charged to tow cars off private property, my office contacted the City Attorney’s Office to determine how the City could stop this practice,” stated Councilmember Nick Licata. He further stated, “It is reasonable to charge people who park on private property when they aren’t authorized to. However, they shouldn’t have to pay whatever the towing company decides, no matter how high the rate.
“Today, the City Attorney’s Office informed me that Seattle should be able to regulate tow company rates. I intend to introduce consumer protection legislation next year to set a reasonable cap on towing fees within Seattle. I will be working with Councilmember Tim Burgess to do so. Other cities like Minneapolis, Portland and Indianapolis all cap private towing rates; it’s time that Seattle join their ranks.”
Councilmember Tim Burgess added, “The Council will review whether the City should more closely regulate towing companies and set a cap on what can be charged for towing from private property. We will also be looking at issues of notice, whether directions to recover a towed vehicle are sufficient, how someone can challenge costs and whether laws about disposal of towed vehicles are being followed. Our role is to make certain this business sector operates with integrity and complies with consumer protection laws.”
Councilmember Licata has shared the City Attorney’s opinion with the Mayor and expects that the Mayor and Council will be working toward the same objectives in establishing any new regulations.