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Towing away illegally parked vehicles

If a car parking space renter does not actually use their space at all then a question that arises is whether or not a vehicle that has been illegally parked in the space may be removed.

In a case that was decided by the Munich Regional Court, in its ruling of 23.6.2022 (case reference: 31 S 10277/19), a motorist had illegally parked his vehicle in a private parking space. Thereupon, the parking space renter called a towing company. When they arrived, the motorist had already driven away in his vehicle. Subsequently, the towing company invoiced the owner of the car for an empty trip. He refused to pay and pointed out that the parking space renter had not even wanted to use it during that time and that towing away his vehicle would have been disproportionate. In the first instance, the towing company’s case was dismissed with the argument that the towing had been financially disproportionate insofar as no specific use had been planned. By contrast, the Regional Court was of the view that the entitled party does not need to have a specific intention to use the parking space in order to organise for a vehicle to be towed away from a private space. Moreover, there is no obligation to wait, especially not when there is absolutely no indication as to when the motorist will return. Towing is also not disproportionate since it would not have been cheaper to remove the vehicle in any other way. 

Outcome: Therefore the car owner who had parked illegally had not suffered a disproportionate disadvantage that could have been avoided by opting for other equally appropriate defence measures. Moreover, for the renter it would not have been acceptable to tolerate the trespass until such time as the motorist had driven away. Therefore, the average costs for the local area for an empty trip plus the night surcharge had to be paid by the owner of the car.

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