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Navigating Unclaimed Vehicles: A Guide to Towing Companies’ Rights & Responsibilities in Florida

By April 24, 2024No Comments

Towing is a common sight on Florida roads, especially when it comes to removing abandoned or unclaimed vehicles. However, the rights and responsibilities of tow companies in these situations can be complex. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of unclaimed vehicles, shedding light on what tow companies can and cannot do under Florida law.

Understanding Unclaimed Vehicles

Before we delve into the legal aspects, let’s understand what qualifies as an unclaimed vehicle. In Florida, a vehicle may be deemed unclaimed if it has been left on private property without the owner’s consent, is illegally parked, or is involved in an accident, and the owner cannot be readily identified or located.

Towing Companies’ Right to Tow

Towing from Private Property: Tow companies in Florida generally have the right to tow vehicles parked without authorization on private property. Property owners or authorized agents can request the removal of such vehicles to ensure the rightful use of their space.

Law Enforcement Authorization: Law enforcement agencies can authorize the towing of vehicles in specific situations, such as accidents or if a vehicle is impeding traffic flow. In such cases, tow companies act on behalf of the authorities to clear the roadway.

Legal Requirements & Responsibilities

Notification Requirements: Florida law mandates that tow companies must notify law enforcement within a specified timeframe after towing a vehicle. This notification ensures that law enforcement is informed about the vehicle’s location and the reason for towing.

Record Keeping: Tow companies are required to maintain accurate records of each tow, including the date, time, location, and condition of the vehicle. These records can be crucial in case the vehicle owner or law enforcement seeks information about the tow.

Charges and Fees: Tow companies are allowed to charge reasonable fees for their services. However, these fees must be clearly communicated to the vehicle owner, and the company should follow established guidelines to avoid overcharging.

The Right to Sell Unclaimed Vehicles

In cases where the owner does not reclaim the vehicle within a specified period, tow companies in Florida may have the right to sell unclaimed vehicles to recover towing and storage costs. This process is strictly regulated by law, and tow companies must adhere to specific procedures to avoid legal complications.

Navigating Lien Sales

Notice to the Vehicle Owner: Before selling an unclaimed vehicle, tow companies must provide notice to the registered owner, lienholders, and other interested parties. This notice typically includes information about the impending sale and the steps the owner can take to reclaim the vehicle.

Public Auction Requirements: If attempts to notify the owner are unsuccessful, tow companies may proceed with a public auction. However, strict guidelines govern the auction process, ensuring fairness and transparency.


Unclaimed vehicles pose unique challenges for both vehicle owners and tow companies in Florida. It’s crucial for tow companies to be well-versed in their rights and responsibilities to avoid legal pitfalls. If you find yourself in a situation involving unclaimed vehicles, seeking legal advice is recommended to ensure compliance with Florida law.

For more information on this topic, contact one of our experienced attorneys at 305-570-2208. You can also email our lead attorney Eduardo directly at 

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