Dallas Attempting to Give Private Lots the Boot

The Dallas City Council is taking aim at private parking lots that have started "booting" cars that allegedly have not paid to park.

The minimum charge to remove the immobilizing devices installed by one private parking enforcement contractor is $100.

Many of the lots are in Deep Ellum, and businesses and residents say they are not happy about the practice.

Property owner Barry Annino, of the Deep Ellum Foundation, said his vehicle was booted -- on his own property.

"I come out in five minutes, and I have a boot," he said.

Annino said a company that leases the lot from him booted his car.

"I told them not to boot my lot anymore, and they said they were going to do it anyway," he said. "There’s no rules. It’s very heavy-handed; it leans to one side."

The Dallas City Council is discussing rules for the practice. Councilwoman Angela Hunt called it "absolutely ridiculous."

"Unfortunately, this is a loophole in Dallas’s law, and we’re trying to close it," she said.

One proposal would require, among other things, automated pay stations that disperse windshield receipts as proof of payment before a lot could boot cars.

City officials say parking lot operators oppose the plan, but Hunt said such measures are reasonable.

"It’s not the city’s business to help them make a profit at the expense of our residents," she said.

Council members told city staff to return with a more thorough plan next month.

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