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Abandoned Vehicle Title Basics – All States

  • 5 min read

Abandoned Vehicle Titles keep a few things in mind.


First of all, an abandoned vehicle title is only one option of methods in order to get a title and the reason why that’s important is depending on your state and your county.

Your particular state that an abandoned vehicle title may not be the best way to proceed to transfer a vehicle into your name. There are many other options that in a lot of cases are much more simple to process a lot less money and take a lot less time.

There’s bonded titles, court order titles many other procedures so the first thing is to make sure you look at all the other options before you proceed, the second thing is keep in mind that abandoned vehicles are not always finders keepers, sometimes you have to actually have a towing company, tow the vehicle and then they auction it off, so that may be a possibility another thing to keep in mind.

These articles are not designed to be legal advice, we’re not attorneys, we’re not giving you advice on how to take action that requires legal interpretations. Always get good quality legal suggestions from an attorney who’s experienced in the area of vehicle title paperwork.

The reason why that’s important is because at some point it may be necessary to take action in court, there’s a process called a court order title, the Ohio bureau of motor vehicles has a section on their website about court order titles.

At some point this may be a last resort that you have to take is a court order title, sometimes you can do a bonded title in some states and other title methods that you’ll see on our website regardless of which method you choose.

One of the things you’ll hear us talk about in the abandoned vehicle processes is what’s called a DPPA request and the DPPA is a federal statute enacted in the 90s called the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act it requires that vehicle information be kept private but you as an applicant for an abandoned vehicle may need to get vehicle ownership information and the way you do that is using the DPPA exception form it’s a request for certified records and almost every state will have very similar requirements because the information and the exclusions comes from the federal law.

So here’s the form has a requesters information and what you’re looking for in this case would be vehicle information and it’ll have permissible use and it mentions the driver’s privacy protection act DPPA, this will appear on almost every state form no matter what state you’re in and it has usually six or seven permissible uses, in this case it expands it into more types of use of the information so you want to check off the correct box so DPPA that’s what this means we recommend in every case of doing an abandoned vehicle to start the process of requesting the vehicle information from the DMV as early as possible because it may take some time for the DMV to respond to your request.

Another suggestion, is do not move the vehicle in some cases you’ll have to sign an affidavit saying the vehicle has remained abandoned where it was left by the person who abandoned it and if you move it it may invalidate or void your use of the process, again get good legal advice make sure you’re not taking our word for it, you want to check the statutes and check the actual requirements for your state.

The last thing to keep in mind is you’ll hear us mention small claims court in some cases the only way to take possession of a vehicle is to have a judgement against the person who is the owner, so you can actually have a claim against them, sometimes if you’re a licensed repair facility or licensed automotive facility you can charge storage fees or repair fees but if you’re a private citizen and a private landowner you may not be able to charge those fees because you’re not in that licensed business and we’ve seen some clients who have used the court process to get a judgement against that person for abandoning the vehicle on the property, again get good legal advice but you may want to start that process because at some point it may be necessary to use that judgement as a lien against the vehicle to transfer into your name.

So specific paperwork statutes and forms for all 50 states but as you see them remember that this suggestion and kind of blanket disclaimer goes with all of them because there’s important legal considerations for every abandoned vehicle and you want to make sure it’s serving the purpose you want, if you just want to get rid of the vehicle and get it off your property that’s one thing.

If you want to take ownership of the vehicle there may be higher level legal requirements available that you have to follow before you can get the title in your name.

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