So You Repaired, Stored, or Towed a Car and The Owner Won’t Come Pick It Up… Now What?

In General by Coolidge Wall

Abandoned vehicles are an all too common problem for owners of repair garages, towing services, and storage facilities. Fortunately, Ohio law allows these businesses to claim title to abandoned vehicles and if done properly, without the excessive cost of litigation to secure Court ordered title.

This process and correlating requirements are governed by Ohio Revised Code § 4505.101 which applies to vehicles worth less than $3500 and left unclaimed for a certain number of days (depending on your type of business, this number ranges from five to fifteen) following the completion of a requested repair or agreed upon term of storage. In determining whether a vehicle is worth less than $3500, the cost of agreed upon repairs and the cost to return the vehicle to wholesale value are deducted from its wholesale value.

Thus, if you are the owner of a repair garage, towing service, or storage facility, are in possession of a vehicle worth less than $3500, and that vehicle has remained unclaimed for the required amount of time, then Ohio Revised Code § 4505.101 may likely apply for you.

If Ohio Revised Code § 4505.101 applies, then the business must follow the mandatory procedure outlined within. That process includes, among other things, doing a title search of the vehicle, sending out certified mail notice(s) to the owner and any lien holder of the vehicle, filling out an Unclaimed Vehicle Affidavit required by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and paying the difference between the wholesale value of the vehicle and the cost of agreed upon and needed repairs. All of these requirements must be met in order to obtain title free and clear.

While this process can be tedious, the attorneys at Coolidge Wall can help you obtain title to your abandoned vehicles quickly and efficiently. In an effort to help our clients, we have streamlined the required internal procedure and offer affordable flat fee arrangements. To learn more about these services, or the process for acquiring title for vehicles worth more than $3500, please contact Jennifer R. Roberts, Esq. at 937-223-8177 or [email protected].

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