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Abandoned vehicles ...

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by topsites, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I recently found a Jaguar and today, a bmw...

    I always wondered if one can acquire (yes, legally) an abandoned vehicle. I did some research and there do exist forms via the DMV where one can apply for a title or transfer of ownership in the case of vehicles left on private property.

    Both appear abandoned for good:
    - The jaguar is in a lot I contracted and has no plates but some window decals expired 5 years ago... The tires are going flat but it has all the paperwork inside and other than no key, this one should convert into my name legally by filing VSA-40, "Affidavit of Compliance Under Abandoned Motor Vehicle Act". Ok, some rigmarole involved but it's not bad because it's on private property.

    - The bmw is on the side of a public highway, no plates and slightly dented (possibly wrecked it right there)... Of course one would have to find out first if it is stolen but... It appears this one can't be gotten around because in order to file the VSA-40 form, one has to control the property on which the vehicle was left and there appears no legalese concerning public highway abandoned vehicles other than perhaps the county has to dispose of it.

    As for me, the jaguar would be nice to restore but it needs some work. The bmw appears beyond what I would want to restore but I would love to have it for parts (same year and model of one I have).

    Does anyone have any experience with this stuff?
  2. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    No direct experience but i would imagine if the car is left onprivate property, it would have to be YOUR private property in order to file the paper work IMO...
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes, I would have to get the property owner to sign the form (I would pay the fee), then transfer the title (hence the rigmarole) but this has a chance of working seeing how it's a contracted property I service. If they want the vehicle gone and I do the legwork and other than a couple of signatures on their part (I get the tow), it costs them nothing while I get the car. It's at least somewhat win-win.
    Of course it involves certified letter etc (but the paperwork is there so I should be able to do this).

    As for the other part, I think I'm sol... It says:
    The county, city or town, where a vehicle is abandoned may take custody of the vehicle. In order to do so, they must notify, by registered or certified mail within fifteen days (blablablabla). If the owner does not respond within the time allowed, the county, city or town may sell the vehicle at a public auction.

    So public auctions, I guess...
    ahhh forget it. I'll think about the XJ6 some more thou :)
  4. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 959

    In ohio, it would be 30 days on your property to calim staus of said vehicle.
  5. iluvscag

    iluvscag LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 743

    I didn't even know you could do that.

    JKOOPERS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    just tow it to your garage and chop it up for parts . then leave it on the side of the road, or just take the parts you need right there in the parking lot . :)
  7. dtelawncare

    dtelawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 227

    My wife's grandfather has ran a wrecker service for over 40 years. He picks up abandoned vehicles every week. He charges a fee for storage per day. It's like $20 a day or something like that. The owner may show up months later to get a HUGE storage bill, they have to pay a huge fee to get the car. Nornally they bring the cash so he makes a lot of $$$ off of these deals. or leave it with him. Occasionally he keeps one and fixes it up a little. I'm not sure what constitutes you originally towing the car, but it can be done.
  8. firelwn

    firelwn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    I think that your answer would be constituted as theft. Sounds like you could be one of those people that are out stealing equiptment trying to gain some jobs or just using the parts for your stuff. Just my opinion from your post, not cool.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I know your reply wasn't to me, but I had thought along those lines and...

    I gave it a lot of thought... I mean, the car is abandoned so the devil may care but in the end I felt the same way you did: No matter how I looked at it, it's still a form of theft because I'm taking something that isn't mine. Even abandoned, if we, the general public are allowed to determine what constitutes abandoned, next thing you know any half-disabled car will get towed within hours by the opportunist.

    Then there exists the problem of if I tow it to my own property that's all fine and dandy if I can dispose of it properly afterwards, I would be doing everyone a favor but that's the problem: You can't dispose of a vehicle that is not in your name. So what next, put it back out? Well that's not doing anybody a favor, I would only be helping myself to some parts off of something that really wasn't mine (so yeah, that makes me a thief).

    So who determines what is abandoned, and who deals with it? On private property, the owner of the property is allowed this power.
    But the county is the only body of authority that is allowed to deal with vehicles abandoned on public roads... Of course, by the time the vehicle goes up for public auction it will hardly be worth fooling with, but at least at that point the vehicle would recover (hopefully) fair market share, which covers the county's cost of dealing with it. It does make sense, if you think about it.

    So, that's how it ends for me. But yes, you can acquire a vehicle left on private property so long you are the owner of said property (or if you know the owner, you can transfer it after the owner acquires it for you), there are forms you can file (and a certified letter, yes I think 30 days is the time frame) then within 48 hours of all that, the title is yours. Keep in mind the title is now branded which falls under the category of salvage and puts the vehicle in poor condition as far as resale value is concerned. If such a vehicle is restored, it would have to be re-appraised.

    JKOOPERS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    did you not notice the smile at the end of my post . all of my stuff has receipts.

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