Attorney general, Kamala Harris, has issued Opinion AG 07-804, (found at 87 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 114) which states a private parking lot owner cannot issue a ticket with a monetary fine. Even if the private parking lot owner towed your car (something they are allowed to do if the appropriate signs are posted), that owner cannot require you to pay a fine in order to get your car out of hock with the towing company. If you would like to read the opinion, click here on the Attorney General’s website. Search for Opinion 07-804, filed December 22, 2011.
Issuing parking tickets on private property has been a great revenue-generating concept. The official summary reads as follows:
“1. Neither California Vehicle Code section 22658, nor any other state law, authorizes private property owners to issue parking citations imposing monetary sanctions to the owners of vehicles parked on their property.
2. Absent statutory authorization, private property owners may not acquire, by means of issuing a written warning or posting signage, the right to issue parking citations imposing monetary sanctions to the owners of vehicles parked on their property.
3. Persons who tow and impound vehicles under Vehicle Code section 22658 may not require payment of parking citations that have been issued by private property owners.
4. Owners of vehicles who have received parking citations imposing monetary sanctions issued by private property owners or their agents do not have rights or remedies per se, but the citations are unenforceable against the vehicle owners.”
The California Legislature has already authorized private parking lot owners to tow cars and this Opinion does not alter that right. In addition, the Attorney General has prohibited “booting” cars in the parking lot as it constitutes vehicle tampering. Merry Christmas California.