Towing common at apartments near ASU

TARGETING STUDENTS: Tow truck companies often use student populated apartments as major targets for business. Strict parking rules that students are unaware of can lead to costly towing bills. (Photo by Lindsey Fulkerson)

For ASU students that park at popular apartment complexes in Tempe, leaving their car unattended could subject them to immediate towing.

Most apartment complexes that attract student tenants, including Vista del Sol, Villas on Apache and Gateway at Tempe, utilize some form of a towing service to clear parking lots for their residents.

Both Villas and Vista use SWAT towing company with trucks patrolling their parking lots as often as seven days a week.

Michael Polzin, the general manager at Vista del Sol, said the towing service is used to protect spots for residents who pay anywhere from $60 to $80 monthly for both uncovered and garage parking.

“We tow vehicles that do not have permits so that our paying customers can fully utilize the spaces they are paying for,” Polzin said.

Eric Shipley, the property manager for Villas on Apache, said the parking lot was a “jungle” when there was no towing service because students would leave their car to go to class for hours at a time.

“It really is just because we are down the street from campus,” Shipley said. “Every spot was filled every part of the day.”

Shipley said complaints about the towing policy typically stem from people who are non-residents.

Jacob Meltzer, assistant director at Gateway at Tempe, said the apartment tows cars that are parked illegally during the weekdays if they don’t have a permit. However, no permit is needed during the weekend/

“We tow cars parked in covered parking without a permit and cars parked in uncovered parking without a permit Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Meltzer said.

Meltzer said uncovered parking is free for residents with a permit while covered parking costs $25 per month.

Jeffrey Dunn, manager of All City Towing, said the company works with Gateway and each private property towing agreement is different.

“It depends on the services requested because every property has different requirements,” Dunn said.

Dunn said All City Towing does receive complaints, but the service doesn’t specifically target students.

“Do we get complaints? Sure, people aren’t happy when their vehicle is towed, but I guarantee you (that) we’re not the predatory tower out there snatching cars,” said Dunn.

Sierra Johnson, a student at Mesa Maricopa Community College planning to transfer to ASU and is a resident of Villas on Apache, said her car has been towed twice by SWAT Towing Company since she moved into the apartments.

Johnson said her Honda Civic was first towed when she was moving into the complex in May.

“I was only there for two hours and just because I didn’t put my (parking) sticker on the millisecond I got it, it was towed,” Johnson said.

Shipley said Villas on Apache offers both covered parking for $35 a month and uncovered parking for $20 a month and that each option has a different sticker.

Johnson said she was towed a second time in June after a mix-up led her to believe she had access to covered parking. She said retrieving her car cost double after she parked in the covered spot, bringing her total cost to around $260.

Johnson said both instances were probably her fault but said she believes the towing rules are strict.

“I didn’t park by a fire hydrant or something illegal but I guess that’s their job,” Johnson said.

 

Reach the reporter at brennan.j.smith@asu.edu