Section 20E: Liability of lessors of motor vehicles for parking violations
Section 20E. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections twenty A, twenty A1/2, or any other general or special law to the contrary concerning parking laws, if the registered owner of a motor vehicle involved in a parking violation is a person or entity engaged in the taxicab business or the business of leasing or renting motor vehicles, and such motor vehicle is under lease or rent or being operated for hire at the time of such violation, the provisions of this section shall be applicable, and the registered owner shall not be liable for any unpaid fines; provided, however, that such owner has complied with the procedures hereinafter set forth:
(a) The parking clerk shall give to the registered owner notice in writing of each violation in which a motor vehicle owned by such owner is involved, including the registration number of the vehicle, the state of issuance of such registration of the vehicle involved and the date, time and place of the violation.
(b) Within 45 days, the registered owner shall furnish to such parking clerk in writing the name and address of the lessee or rentee of such motor vehicle at the time of such violation; and if the lessee or rentee is also the operator, the lessee's or rentee's driver's license number, state of issuance of such driver's license and the lessee's or rentee's date of birth.
(c) The parking clerk shall thereupon issue a notice of violation to such lessee or rentee in the form prescribed by section twenty A or twenty A1/2.
(d) If such lessee or rentee does not appear in person or by writing as otherwise provided in section twenty A, twenty A1/2, or any other general or special law concerning parking violations, or make payment within twenty-one days from the date on which such notice is issued, the parking clerk shall notify the registrar as provided by the provisions of section twenty A, twenty A1/2, or any other general or special law concerning parking violations, and the clerk of the division of the district court department or Boston municipal court department of the trial court having jurisdiction. Upon notification by the parking clerk, the registrar shall suspend and shall not renew the license to operate a motor vehicle of such lessee or rentee or suspend the right to operate of a lessee or rentee not licensed in this commonwealth; and the clerk of the district court of the trial court having jurisdiction shall forthwith issue a criminal complaint against the lessee or rentee and thereafter proceed against such lessee or rentee following the procedures established for criminal cases. The registrar shall remove any suspension and nonrenewal of license or right to operate made under the provisions of this section upon the payment in full to the parking clerk of the fine and penalty for such violation by the lessee or rentee.
(e) The provisions of section twenty A, section twenty A1/2, or any other general or special law concerning parking violations, shall be applicable to lessees and rentees of motor vehicles as provided herein.
(f) Any registered owner and parking clerk may, by agreement upon such terms and conditions as they may deem appropriate, provide for the transmission of the information referred to in subsections (a) and (b), on magnetic tape or in other computer readable format, in order to expedite completion of the foregoing provisions.
(g) The written notice referred to in subsection (a) shall be sent to the registered owner no later than two years after the date that such violation occurred; provided, however, that if such notice is sent within such two year period the parking clerk may proceed against the lessee or rentee, as provided herein, at any time after the sending of such notice.
(h) Upon a showing of cause, any fine may be reduced, dismissed, or otherwise disposed of by the parking clerk or any other designated governmental authority handling such parking violations, fines or penalties.
(i) Notwithstanding any general law or special law to the contrary, a surcharge of $.60 per lease or rental transaction shall be collected and paid pursuant to this section to the city or town within whose borders the rental or lease transaction was initiated as specified in the rental or lease agreement. A rental shall consist of a bailment of thirty-one consecutive days or less and a lease or leasing shall consist of a bailment of more than thirty-one consecutive days. Amounts received by a city or town under this section shall not be considered in the determination of the amount of any distribution of state assistance to such city or town.
Such surcharge amount shall be $.60 per rental or lease transaction as specified in the rental or lease agreement.
The money collected by a lessor or rentor pursuant to this section shall be paid monthly on or before the twentieth of the following month to the city or town where the rental or lease transaction was initiated and such surcharges may be added to the cost of the lease or rental.
For the purpose of determining compliance with payment of the surcharge, the city or town shall have the authority to examine the books, records and pertinent documents of any person or entity engaged in the taxicab business, or the business of leasing or renting motor vehicles; provided however, that said examination shall be conducted by the auditor or treasurer of the city or town or his designee. Whenever the amount of surcharge paid has been less than that required by subsection (i), the city or town may file a claim for surcharges underpaid or undercollected plus the statutory rate of interest on such charges. No payment for such underpayment or undercollection of surcharges shall be allowed unless the claim for such underpayment or undercollection is filed with the taxicab business or the business leasing or renting motor vehicles within two years of the date upon which the payment was due.
Whenever the amount of surcharge has been paid in error to the city or town or overcollected by the city or town, the rentor or lessor may file a claim for refund on surcharges overpaid or overcollected plus the statutory rate of interest on such surcharges. No refund shall be allowed unless the claim for refund is filed with the city or town within two years of the date upon which the payment was made.