Florida League of Cities

Towing and Storage (Monitor) 

HB 179 (Bell), SB 202 (Rodriguez) and HB 213 (Smith) make changes related to towing-storage operator practices, including allowable fees, payment, lien requirements, sale of unclaimed vehicles and record retention. Specifically, the bills share the following provisions:

•Reduce the timeframe in which a towing-storage operator must send the notice of lien from seven to four 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 65 days from the storage date, and require the notice of lien must not be sent less than 60 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 30 minutes 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.

Only HB 179 prohibits the Florida Highway Patrol from excluding a wrecker operator from its wrecker operator system based solely on a prior felony conviction, unless such conviction is for a specified felony offense. 

Only SB 202 and HB 213 preempt counties and cities from imposing any regulations upon a towing-storage operator more stringent than those within this legislation. (Chapman)