Several regulations to protect Coloradans from what many consider to be "predatory" towing practices took effect on Wednesday, thanks to a new state law passed in June.

The so-called “towing bill of rights” makes several changes, such as mandating that towing companies provide a 24-hour notice before towing vehicles located on residential properties. Other major changes include the following requirements for towing companies:

  • Release a vehicle for free at the owner’s request if the vehicle has been hooked up to a tow truck but not yet removed from the property
  • Release a towed vehicle if 15% of the overall fees have been paid, not to exceed $60
  • Do not tow a vehicle for expired registration and plates unless ordered by law enforcement
  • Release the personal property inside of a towed vehicle upon the owner’s request within 30 days of sending the notice that the vehicle was towed
  • Prominently display maximum allowable fees charged for towing on website and place of business
  • Do not charge for vehicle storage prior to notifying vehicle owner about the location that the vehicle was towed to
  • Photograph a vehicle before towing to document its condition

These changes were established by House Bill 1314, with the bill sponsors saying it will help protect residents from the financial hardships of paying for unexpected tows due to minor parking offenses in residential communities, such as apartment complexes and mobile home parks.

The new rights are not retroactive and only apply from Wednesday onwards.

Anyone with questions about the new rules or who wishes to report towing companies out of compliance can call the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies' consumer assistance line at 303-894-2070 in Denver or 800-456-0858 outside of Denver. 

Correction: An initial version of this story said the bill created an Office of Towing, but that portion of the bill was eliminated during a committee meeting due to the cost.

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