AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department (APD) has issued violations to multiple auto shops, mechanics and tow companies for abandoned vehicles in east Austin.

After the APD district representative for the area received a complaint about the vehicles – which included cars, trailers and boats – officers went to the area of Hudson and Darby Streets and found the vehicles in the right-of-way.

The public right-of-way is defined as any public thoroughfare such as a street, road or alley. It typically also includes medians, sidewalks, and any area immediately adjacent to a street.

According to APD, the following instances classify a vehicle as abandoned:

  • Any vehicle that is inoperable, more than 5 years old and left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours
  • Has remained illegally on public property for more than 48 hours
  • Has remained on the private property without the consent of the owner or person in charge of the property for more than 48 hours
  • Has been left unattended on the right-of-way of a designated county, state or federal highway for more than 48 hours
  • Has been left unattended for more than 24 hours in the right-of-way of a controlled access highway.

Police received the initial complaint about the vehicles on Feb. 17, and officers responded on March 1.

Neighbors said some of the vehicles have been there for months.

When we asked the police department if it commonly deals with this issue to this magnitude, APD responded “not to our knowledge.”

APD said some of the shops in the area have already moved some of their vehicles. The department made an agreement with one of the companies – 777 Auto – giving the business additional time to move its cars.

APD said typically, once a tag is placed on a car, the owner has 48 hours to fix the problem or remove the vehicle from the street. Police re-check the vehicle after 48 hours, and if it’s still in violation – police will impound the vehicle. Then, the owner will have 20 days to redeem them before the vehicles are sold at public auction.

Regarding 777 Auto’s case, police said the extension was “in order to give him a plausible amount of time to correct the situation. Due to the large number of vehicles that were tagged, the time allotment was extended,” APD said in an email.

KXAN reached out to 777 Auto who said “the vehicles are being removed,” but provided no further context.

APD said it will continue to follow up to make sure the cars ultimately get removed.

Reporting abandoned vehicles

You can report abandoned or junk vehicles to 311. In this case, the person who filed the complaint also got in touch with the police district representative, who was the officer who ultimately responded to area.

To find your police district representative, you can enter your address on this City website.

It’s important to note the Austin Code Department does not have the authority to enforce Texas Transportation Code laws, so you need to reach out to APD.

According to this City document, APD’s Vehicle Abatement/Abandoned Vehicle Unit had to scale back on certain responses due to “manpower shortages and limited resources.” To see which calls should go to APD and which calls should go to Austin Parking Enforcement, click here.