Effective October 1, 2012, any Maryland community association that has three or more general common element or general common area parking spaces must comply with the new signage and towing authorization procedures outlined in Sections 21-10A-02 through 21-10A-05 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Code.
These laws require that:
It is critical to ensure that the new signage requirements are in place before any vehicles may be towed after September 30, 2012. If your community does not install the new signs, you must suspend towing (for non-safety related tows) until such signs are installed.
Other provisions of the new statute apply more directly to the towing companies; however, since an aggrieved vehicle owner may also be able to hold the owner of the parking facility (the association) liable for any damages, all associations need to confirm that the towing contractor is aware of the new requirements. We also recommend that the towing contract be reviewed and possibly revised to reflect that the contractor is aware of and will comply with the applicable towing laws, and that the contractor agrees to hold harmless, indemnify, and defend against claims associated with the failure to comply with such laws.
For our Montgomery County community association clients, we understand that efforts are underway to seek guidance from the County Attorney's Office as to how these new state laws will be enforced in the County as Chapter 30C of the Montgomery County Code arguably has more stringent towing regulations already in place.
We will send follow-up alerts as we receive more information; however, in the current state of uncertainty, we are recommending that all of our Maryland community association clients immediately comply with the new signage and authorization requirements set forth above prior to initiating any towing of vehicles from general common element or general common area parking spaces on or after October 1, 2012.
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