Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 632 | TRs | Pics
Construction worker's RV broke down on his way to work in Seattle, so he parked it on the side of the road and proceeded to live there for the next three months. Seattle has a 72 hour parking rule, which he violated. City towed his car. Normal procedure is if you don't pay your impound fees and parking fines, they can sell your car to cover the costs. Guy challenged that.
Court ruled that Washington's Homestead Act protects up to $15,000 of the value of your car, so long as you are living in it. You can only have one homestead, so it legitimately has to be your only home. The city can still impound your car and give you parking fines, but they can't sell your car to cover the costs of the fines if you refuse to pay. This guy's RV was valued at $4,000.
Why does this case matter? Cities won't want to impound beater RVs or cars parked on the road because they can's sell it to cover the costs. Since they can't sell it, if they impound it, and the person refuses to pay, they will either have to keep the RV parked on a lot forever, or just give it back to the person for free. So what may result is governments refuse to impound RVs parked on city streets. The decision is from Seattle but would also apply on county roads and even National Forests and Federal lands (since the impound laws apply everywhere in Washington).
So we may see a lot more RVs indefinitely parked along roads in Washington.