Is it legal for a non-government entity to issue these notices?
Yes, if the company issuing them is a registered operator and if the parking facility is registered with the City. Go to the current list of registered lot operators.
Pay and park facilities: The operator of a pay and park facility may assess and collect a penalty from any parker found to have either parked without paying the required parking fees upon parking the vehicle, or parked without placing the proof of payment in the vehicle so that it is clearly visible through the windshield (if paper receipts are provided).
Non-pay private parking facilities: The operator of a non-pay private parking facility may assess and collect a penalty from any parker found to have parked without authorization or beyond the time allowed.
Can they charge whatever they want for a penalty?
No, the penalty is indexed by City Code to the amount assessed by Parking Enforcement officers for overtime parking on City property (parking tickets).
If you do not understand your penalty notice, contact the lot operator or the Revenue Division with your questions.
Penalty notices, penalty payment letters and any subsequent demands for payment must include:
- The name, address and telephone number of the operator;
- The vehicle’s make, model, color and license plate number;
- The time and date the penalty notice was issued;
- The location of the facility, including street address or the intersection nearest the entrance as provided on the original registration application;
- Any facility number that may be assigned by the operator;
- The amount of the penalty demanded;
- Instructions describing deadlines and acceptable methods of payment;
- Warning (if the operator collects an Administrative Fee) that an Administrative Fee may be assessed if the payment of the penalty is not received within 10 days of issuance of a penalty notice;
- Any additional penalty that may be added if not paid within 30 days; and
- A statement that the vehicle owner may submit a written complaint to the Revenue Division if attempts to resolve the complaint with the operator have been unsuccessful anytime within 90 days of the date of the first penalty payment letter. The Division's mailing address must be included on penalty payment letters.
The collection process must be suspended immediately until a determination is made on the complaint.
The information is reviewed, to see if there is evidence of a Code violation. A re-inspection of the lot may be necessary to verify that all required signs were posted at the time the penalty notice was issued. The complaint resolution may be as simple as forwarding the copy of a parking payment receipt to the registered operator.
You will be notified of the determination in writing by the Revenue Division Pay and Park and Non-Pay Private Parking Facilities Program.
It may take up to 60 days from the day your complaint is received to receive that notice.
The machine was not working when I tried to pay, why did I get a penalty notice?
The policy at the pay to park lots is usually posted on a sign at the payment machine, words to the effect of “If machine does not dispense a ticket, do not park in parking facility.” The machines are maintained regularly but something may go wrong later in the day, or maybe there is a problem with the payment method you tried to use. There is always a customer service number that you can call for assistance, but if you leave your car in the lot without valid proof of payment you risk receiving a parking penalty notice.
There was no notice on my car. Can I ignore the letter they sent me?
No. If you feel that you received the demand for payment letter in error, contact the Revenue Division and we will work to verify the identity of the vehicle for you.
In the private lots the placard grants the privilege of parking in the reserved spaces, but does not grant free parking. The registered operators add stickers to the blue signs that say “Permit holder responsible for payment” to help clarify any misunderstanding.
The operator must void the penalty if the parker or registered owner provides evidence within 30 days of the issuance of the penalty notice that the parking fee payment was made at the time the vehicle was parked at the facility. Be sure to keep the original proof of payment.
You may file a complaint any time up to 90 days from the mailing date of the first penalty payment letter.