Important Changes Surrounding Tow Truck Licensing in Oakville Coming into Effect
Some important changes surrounding tow truck licensing in Oakville will be coming into effect next year.
On June 25, 2019, at a special council meeting, Oakville town council unanimously approved a tow truck licensing by-law. The purpose of the by-law, according to a recent press release, is to ensure that only licensed tow truck companies and vehicle storage yards are operating in town.
In addition, the by-law will also regulate fees that are charged when a vehicle is towed from private property without the owner's consent, and reinforce that signage is posted on lots where non-consent towing occurs.
Also at the meeting, council directed staff to re-examine the appropriate fees tow truck operators can charge, and the wording required on property owners' signage, before the by-law comes into effect.
The following conditions, according to the release, are included in the by-law:
- Each tow truck owner that becomes licensed will receive a plate issued by the town. The plate will be required to be attached to the rear section of the truck so that it's visible to the public.
- Tow trucks will be required to have the company name and phone number attached to or painted on both sides of the truck.
- Signage on private lots where towing is practiced must include a visible tow-away symbol, or graphic, and that states the space is for customer parking only, and if vehicle operator leaves the property the vehicle may be towed. Signs will also be required to include the name of the property owner authorizing the towing.
- Vehicles that are towed from private property without the owner/driver's consent must be towed only to a storage yard within the boundaries of Oakville.
- Fees for when a vehicle is towed at the owner's request are required to be submitted to the town by the tow truck owner, however, these fees will not be standardized by regulation.
The by-law will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
"We want everyone to enjoy their visit to our tourist and shopping districts, so we are putting appropriate and necessary controls in place," Mayor Rob Burton said in a statement. "Council asked staff to prepare options that include clear controls and measures to mitigate the issue of non-consent towing. We're regulating fees, we're regulating how far cars may be towed, and we're regulating clear signage on private lots."
As noted in the release, towing illegally parked vehicles from a private lot is one way property owners can enforce parking regulations. However, after a number of complaints from the public were presented about excessive towing fees charged for being towed from privately owned parking lots, council directed staff to develop a tow truck licensing by-law that would regulate costs.
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