Removal of Abandoned Vehicles from Private Party

Abandoned Vehicle8.48.010 M.C.
Under most circumstances, the South San Francisco Police Department cannot cite and/or tow "Abandoned Vehicles" from private property parking lots. The Police Department will help advise you on what to do when someone abandons a car on your private property parking lot.

Suggestion for what a private property owner and/or manager can do to remove an abandoned car from private property:
Ensure that your private property parking lot is posted with the proper signs. See below for required signage details.

Call the tow company of your choice. There are several reputable tow companies in the Northern San Mateo County area. Sorry, the Police Department cannot refer you to a specific tow company.

The property owner/manager negotiates with the tow company regarding the price of tow/vehicle removal. Shop around; the price/bill for towing abandoned/illegally parked vehicles varies from company to company.

Some abandoned vehicles in parking lots may be stolen and just dumped there. You can call the Police Department at (650) 877-8900 with the license plate number or VIN and we will tell you if the car is reported as stolen. The Police Department will recover and tow away all stolen vehicles without any tow charges to you.

8.48.010 M.C.: Nuisance Declared – Vehicle Abatements

The Police Department has the authority to remove some types of "Abandoned Vehicles" from private property when: The vehicle is worth less than $500, is a potential health or safety hazard, and is an attractive nuisance. This "Abatement" process is time consuming (approximately 30 days) and is expensive. Tow fees, along with police administrative fees, will be passed along to the property owner for payment. These costs are typically much higher than the private property tow procedure outlined above. In summary, it takes much longer and is more expensive for the Police Department to tow a qualifying "Abandoned Vehicle" from private property.

Private Property Parking Lot Signage per 22658 CVC (in part)
  1. Prepare a sign containing the wording, "PRIVATE PROPERTY PARKING FOR________________ ONLY." Violators will be towed away at the owner's expense per 22658 (a) CVC. South San Francisco Police Department (650) 877-8900.
  2. The size of the sign must not be less that seventeen inches (17") vertically and twenty-two inches (22") horizontally, and the lettering may not be less than one inch (1") in height and must be in contrasting colors.
  3. Post the signs at each entrance to the parking lot in plain view of anyone entering the property. The signs must be completely legible.
For questions regarding this somewhat confusing property private property parking issue, call the Traffic/Motor Unit supervisor at (650) 829-3934.