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While privately issued parking tickets are an unwelcome surprise to most residents, lot owners argue they're much better ....

Sharking Lots: Private Businesses Can Now Legally Issue Parking Tickets in Miami

By Terence Cantarella / November 2, 2021

Better Than the Alternative?

While privately issued parking tickets are an unwelcome surprise to most residents, lot owners argue they're much better than booting and towing — for drivers and lot owners alike.

Booting has declined sharply since a 2018 City of Miami law set the maximum rate at $49.99 for removal of a boot on private property. Towing, meanwhile, requires employees, infrastructure, or a contract with an existing company. Both practices are also confrontational and often lead to verbal and physical altercations, calls to the police, and lawsuits.

Ticketing, lot owners say, allows them to enforce rules in a way that's safer, cheaper, and more convenient for everyone.

Andrew Mirmelli, who owns several lots and parking-related companies across Miami-Dade County, spoke at a June 2019 Miami City Commission meeting in favor of legalizing private ticketing.

Policeman showing on the road sign while writing out fine for violation of traffic rules for a female driver on the city road
Signage at the Ironside complex in Miami. Photo by Terence Cantarella.

"People should seriously reconsider [private ticketing] because of what's happening in its place," Mirmelli said. "What's going on now is, instead of people getting a ticket, they're just getting towed right off the bat. In fact, they're getting towed at such a rate that the towing companies can't even keep up and we're having to bring in additional towing companies. I think that's harmful for the public."

Attorney Anthony De Yurre also spoke in front of the commission. He represents City Parking Inc., a large lot operator that has begun contracting with PPM to handle enforcement. If the city didn't legalize private ticketing, De Yurre argued, it would force lot owners to tow.

"Please don't force a tow," De Yurre pleaded to city commissioners. "The tow will be much worse."

Mirmelli's and De Yurre's statements express lot owners' need to ensure every parking spot is paid for. In meetings and workshops, however, commissioners asked why operators couldn't charge for parking via methods that would minimize the need for enforcement.


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