Division 2 - Removal of Unattended, Abandoned, Etc., Vehicles

Section 25-275. Removal Authorized

Whenever any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part thereof (i) is left unattended on a public highway or other public property and constitutes a traffic hazard, (ii) is illegally parked, (iii) is left unattended for more than ten days either on public property or on private property without the permission of the property owner, lessee, or occupant, or (iv) is immobilized on a public roadway by weather conditions or other emergency situation, such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part thereof may be removed for safekeeping by or under the direction of a police officer.

A motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, and part thereof may not be removed from private property without the written request of the owner, lessee, or occupant of the premises. The person at whose request the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer is removed from private property shall indemnify the city, against any loss or expense incurred by reason of removal, storage, or sale thereof. It shall be presumed that such motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part thereof is abandoned if it (i) lacks either a current license plate, or a valid state safety inspection certificate or sticker, and (ii) it has been in a specific location for four days without being moved. As promptly as possible, each removal shall be reported to the Police Department and to the owner of the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer. Before obtaining possession of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part thereof, the owner of the vehicle shall pay to the parties entitled thereto all costs incidental to its removal and storage and locating said owner. If the owner of the vehicle fails or refuses to pay the cost or if his identity or whereabouts is unknown and unascertainable after a diligent search has been made, and after notice to him at his last known address and to the holder of any lien of record with the office of the Department of Motor Vehicles against the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or part of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer, the vehicle shall be treated as an abandoned vehicle under the provisions of Article 1 of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia and may be sold in accordance with the procedures set forth in sections 46.2-12.13 and 46.2-12.17 of the Code of Virginia. Any personal property found in any unattended or abandoned motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer may be sold incident to the sale of the vehicle as authorized in this section. (Code 1959, § 20-147; Ordinance Number O-88-013, Section 1, January 26, 1988; Ordinance Number O-09-123, 10-13-09, eff. January 1, 2010)

Section 25-276. Liability

The person at whose request a motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer is removed from privately owned property under the provisions of this division shall indemnify the city against any loss or expense incurred by reason of removal, storage or sale thereof. (Code 1959, Section 20-147)

Section 25-277. Notice Generally

Each removal of a vehicle under the provisions of this division shall be reported immediately to the chief of police, who shall give notice to the owner of the motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer as promptly as possible. (Code 1959, Section 20-147)

Section 25-278. Redemption by Owner

The owner of any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer removed under the provisions of this division, before obtaining possession thereof, shall pay to the city all reasonable costs incidental to the removal, storage and location of such vehicle. (Code 1959, Section 20-147; Ordinance Number O-09-123,
10-13-09, eff. January 1, 2010)

Section 25-279. Sale Authorized

Should the owner of a vehicle removed under the provisions of this division fail or refuse to pay the costs of such removal and storage thereof, or should the identity or whereabouts of such owner be unknown or unascertainable after a diligent search has been made, and after notice to him at his last-known address and to the holder of any lien of record in the office of the state division of motor vehicles, the chief of police after holding the motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer thirty (30) days and after due notice of sale, dispose of the same at public sale and the proceeds from such sale shall be forwarded by the chief of police to the city collector. (Code 1959, Section 20-147; Ordinance Number O-88-013, Section 1, January 26, 1988)

Section 25-280. Value Less Than One Hundred Fifty Dollars

If the value of any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer removed under the provisions of this division be determined by three disinterested dealers or garagemen to be less than $150 which would be incurred by such advertising and public sale, it may be disposed of by private sale or junked. (Code 1959, Section 20-147; Ordinance Number O-88-013, Section 1, January 26, 1988)

Section 25-281. Disbursement of Proceeds From Sale

The city collector shall pay from the proceeds of the sale of any motor vehicle removed under the provisions of this division the cost of removal, storage, investigation as to ownership and liens and notice of sale, and the balance of such funds shall be held by him for the owner of such vehicle and paid to him upon satisfactory proof of ownership. (Code 1959, Section 20-147)

Section 25-282. Special Fund

If no claim has been made by the owner of any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer removed and sold under the provisions of this division for the proceeds of such sale, after the payment of the cost of administering this division, the funds shall be deposited in a special fund established by the city for this purpose. Any such owner shall be entitled to apply to the city within three years from the date of such sale and if timely application is made therefor, the city will pay the same to the owner without interest or other charges. No claim shall be made nor shall any suit, action or proceeding be initiated for the recovery of such funds after three years from the date of such sale. This section shall not operate to deprive the city of other remedies available under law to obtain payment from the owner of unattended, abandoned or immobile vehicles for towing, storage or services rendered. (Code 1959, Section 20-147; Ordinance Number O-88-013, Section 1, January 26, 1988)

Section 25-283. Contracts with Private Persons for Removal, Etc., of Vehicles

The city manager shall have the power to enter into contracts with the owner or operator of garages or places for the removal or storage of vehicles referred to in this division. The contracts shall provide for the payment by the city of reasonable charges for the removal and storage of such vehicles, shall require such owners or operators to deliver such vehicles to the owners thereof or to their agents upon demand therefore upon furnishing satisfactory evidence of identity and ownership or agency, and that the owners or operators of such garages or places of storage will indemnify the owners of such vehicles for injury or damage thereto resulting from the negligent removal or storage thereof, and such owners or operators shall be required to provide themselves with adequate liability insurance to cover such indemnity. (code 1959, Section 20-148)

Sections 25-284-25-289. Reserved