Councilmember Nick Licata
Council Committee advances towing cap legislation
SEATTLE – The City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee today voted 3-0 to cap fees for impound tows off private property.
The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Licata, and originally sent to the Council by Mayor McGinn, would place a limit of $183 per hour for the first hour of an impound tow off private property, and $130 for any additional time. It also limits storage rates to $15.50 for up to 12 hours.
Councilmember Licata said, “This legislation protects consumers by setting a fair maximum rate for impounds off private property. It is reasonable to charge for illegal parking on private property, however, people shouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees to recover their vehicle. The Mayor and Council collaborated in crafting and passing this legislation.”
“I want to thank Councilmember Nick Licata and the entire City Council for working to protect Seattle residents and visitors from predatory business practices,” said Mayor McGinn. “We look forward to the implementation and enforcement of these new rules in January 2013.”
“Setting this cap represents basic consumer protection,” said Councilmember Clark. “We should all be so lucky as to never be towed, but, if we do get towed, it should be a fair rate that represents fair compensation for the tow truck operator and not punitive or predatory.”
Currently, there are no legal limits on what towing companies can charge for tows off private property. Impounds off City streets are negotiated with the Seattle Police Department.
Implementation is planned for January, 2013. A Full Council vote is anticipated for Monday, September 24.
State Representative Pollet, who sponsored legislation passed by the state House of Representatives to set maximum rates, said “This is a major step forward for protecting Seattle residents. It’s encouraging that the towing industry recognizes that there are some companies whose charges were abusive, and I look forward to working with the industry and Seattle to expand this protection statewide.”
Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.