Permitting for Los Angeles valet companies to get stricter next month

Valet operators and attendants will need to obtain permits with the city of Los Angeles in order to continue to do business in the city.
Valet operators and attendants will need to obtain permits with the city of Los Angeles in order to continue to do business in the city. Erika Aguilar/KPCC

Valet companies have another month to obtain a permit to operate under the new Los Angeles city ordinance that regulates valet attendants and operators.

The Valet Parking Operator Permit Program is intended to stop valets from parking cars in neighborhoods, at public parking meters and give drivers a way to protect their vehicles from theft and damage.

The ordinance was passed last year but won’t go into effect until November 14. In the meantime, the L.A. Police Commission, who will issue the permits, is holding workshops to answer questions about the permit process, requirements and applications.

“We’re going to have enforcement personnel in the evening hours and weekends driving the main arteries where we know valet operators are at and hand out information about the program,” said Richard Tefank, executive director of the L.A. Police Commission.

The new rules apply to both valet company owners and individual valet attendants. Operators will pay $314 for an annual permit. They’ll have to submit maps and parking plans for where cars will be parked and for what business.

Valet operators such as hotels or restaurants that have their own private parking lots or garages will not be subject to the new rules. The law only applies to operators that use street parking, other non-private parking lots. 

“What we’re regulating now will be on-street valet service where we have had the most difficulty with traffic congestion and traffic violations, Tefank said.

He said so-called “pop-up valet services” —  valets who set up an umbrella anywhere and start parking cars  — will have the hardest time getting into compliance.

Attendants will pay $70 for a permit that will allow them to work at any valet company in the city.

But not everyone will be eligible for a valet attendant permit. Applicants must have a driver’s license, insurance. They can't have any felony convictions on their record in the last seven years including DUIs, auto thefts and vandalism or any violent offenses.

Some have criticized the tough clean record requirement that makes a basic job unavailable to felons reentering society. But the condition is in the public’s interest in terms of safety, say city officials and city council members who unanimously approved the ordinance language this month.

“Would you like to know if that individual has been convicted of burglary or auto theft?”  Tefank said. “They will have your car keys for a period of time. They could make a copy of your home key, have your home address.”

Enforcement will be complaint-driven, and violators could face fines and a misdemeanor. A 60-day grace period will be given the November 14 deadline before citations are written.

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