Important California Laws and Procedures Applicable to Abandoned, Unwanted or Unrepairable Cars

In California, a vehicle parked on a public street or property for more than 3 days or 72 consecutive hours can be impounded and towed to a storage facility. In San Jose, California, the city’s Code Enforcement Division (CED) takes immediate action on reports of abandoned or junk vehicles so that they can be removed from public roads, streets or vacant lots, as soon as possible.

Households that have unwanted and at the same time, inoperative automobile in their garage or yard, can put forward a request for towing and disposal services to San Jose City’s CED. If the unwanted vehicle to be towed is in a junk or unrepairable condition, the CED will provide towing and disposal services, free of charge.

The City of San Jose considers the removal of junk cars in both public and private properties a serious matter. Mainly because the goal of the abatement process is to eliminate the detrimental impacts of such vehicles.

The Environmental and Social Problems Caused by Junk and Abandoned Vehicles

1.  Junk vehicles and cars that have been simply abandoned are first and foremost, potential environmental hazards because they can serve as hiding places for creatures of infestations like rats and other rodents.

2.  Many small wild animals that lost their habitats due to wildfires, such as raccoons and squirrels, also use cars that have remained stationary or unmoving for quite some time, as nesting place. Such creatures tend to proliferate in neighborhoods, often times invading homes to look for food. Raccoons are known to cause greater problems as they resort to destroying certain structural parts of a house to make entry points.

3.  Vehicles abandoned in public roads are also social hazards because criminal elements are inclined to use them in carrying out drug deals and even prostitution. In many cases, allowing criminal activities to take place in abandoned cars, can increase the potential threats to the safety of the people living in the area; especially if rival groups engage in shootouts to settle scores.

4.  In San Jose, California, Parking Compliance Officers can immediately call a towing company san jose CED has accredited to perform abatement procedures. The immediate removal is necessary if the vehicle abandoned on a public road is deemed as extremely blight because of the following conditions:

  • The windows are missing or shattered.
  • The vehicle rests on a jack or a block while parked on the road, mainly because the tires are significantly flat; or it has no tires at all.
  • Both the front and back license plates are missing.
  • The car has been completely vandalized with graffiti
  • The state of unrepair includes open or unsecured doors, trunk and deployed airbags.
  • Several weathered citation tickets are displayed on the windshield

SJC residents are encouraged to report abandoned, inoperable and extremely blight vehicles to the CED so that the latter can assess whether to wait until the lapse of the 72-hour period, or to have the vehicle immediately towed by an accredited San Jose towing company. A resident may opt to remain anonymous when reporting abandoned or inoperable vehicles to the CED.