If you manage a private property, HOA, apartment complex, or commercial property in Chicago, Illinois, understanding the local towing regulations is crucial to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues. Here, we’ll explore the key aspects of Illinois’ towing laws as they apply to private properties.

Understanding Illinois Towing Laws

Illinois has stringent regulations governing the towing of vehicles from private properties, designed to protect both property owners and vehicle owners. Below are the main points to consider:

Written Contract

A written contract with the property owner or manager is required before any vehicle can be towed. This contract must detail the conditions under which vehicles may be towed, such as parking violations or abandonment.

Licensing Requirements

Drivers and dispatchers must obtain a license from the State of Illinois, which must be renewed every two years. This ensures that all personnel involved in towing operations are properly vetted and qualified [source] [source].

Storage Lot Inspection

Any storage lot where a towed vehicle will be kept must be inspected and approved. This ensures that vehicles are stored in secure and safe environments [source].

Immediate Release Upon Owner’s Return

If the owner or driver of a vehicle appears while a tow truck operator is in the process of removing the vehicle, and the vehicle is still on the property, the operator must release the vehicle immediately [source].

Proper Signage

Illinois law requires that approved signage be posted at all entrances and exits of the property at least 24 hours before any vehicle is towed. These signs must be clearly visible and include specific information about towing policies and contact details [source] [source].

Property Registration

All properties from which vehicles will be towed must be registered and approved. This registration ensures that the towing activities are monitored and regulated to prevent abuses [source].

Reporting to Law Enforcement

Any vehicle removed from a property must be reported within one hour to the appropriate law enforcement agency. This helps keep track of towed vehicles and ensures that owners can locate their vehicles promptly [source].

Proximity Requirements

All registered properties must be within 10 air miles of the storage lot where the vehicles will be kept. This proximity requirement helps in the efficient management and retrieval of towed vehicles [source].

Practical Steps for Property Owners

To legally tow a vehicle from your private property in Chicago, follow these steps:

Post Proper Signage

Ensure that all parking areas have clearly visible approved signage at each entrance and exit.

Obtain Written Authorization

Secure a detailed written contract with a state approved towing company.

Coordinate with Licensed Towing Companies

Work only with towing companies that are licensed by the State of Illiniois. Ensure that these companies understand and comply with all legal requirements, including proper signage and reporting procedures.

Keep Records

Maintain detailed records of all towing activities, including written permissions and communications with law enforcement. This documentation is essential if any legal issues arise.

Specific Situations: HOAs, Apartment Complexes, and Commercial Properties

Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

HOAs should clearly communicate parking rules to residents and ensure that all signage complies with state requirements. Regularly review towing contracts to ensure they are up-to-date.

Apartment Complexes

Managers should inform tenants about parking rules and the consequences of violations. Ensure that towing contracts are regularly reviewed and signage is maintained according to legal standards.

Commercial Properties

Clearly define parking areas for customers and employees. Unauthorized vehicles should be handled according to posted signage and proper written authorization for towing.


Understanding and complying with Illinois towing laws is essential for property owners and managers in Chicago. By following these guidelines, you can legally manage parking on your property and ensure unauthorized vehicles are dealt with appropriately while avoiding potential legal issues. For professional assistance, E&R Towing provides reliable towing services that adhere to Illinois’ legal requirements.

E&R Towing
9330 S Sangamon 
Chicago IL 60620

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