Last Updated on January 1, 2023 by Bernard Juchli
How to get rid of abandoned car on private property? You must go through your state’s legal process to remove an abandoned or unclaimed car on your private property to protect the rights of the owner of the car, any lienholder, and security interest holders.
To get rid of an abandoned car on your property, determine its abandoned status and report to your local authorities to have it removed from your property. You request the removal through an application in person or by mail.
An abandoned car on a property can be hazardous and dangerous. Such a car may contain poisonous fluids that destroy your environment. Moreover, it exposes your property to theft activities such as parts-stripping.
What is an abandoned car?
The legal definition of an abandoned car is different in various states but there is similarity or similarities.
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, an abandoned car is a car that has remained on private property without the owner’s consent or the person in charge for more than 48 hours.
A car may also be considered abandoned if it is inoperable for more than five years old, and left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours.
If the car you want to get rid of meets this description, then it may have an abandoned car status and you must get rid of it on the property.
Can I remove an abandoned vehicle from my property?
Of course, you can remove an abandoned vehicle from your property. If the vehicle seems to be abandoned or unclaimed on your private property, you can have it removed even if it is taxed.
In some states, however, a taxed abandoned vehicle cannot be removed, especially if it is on a public road until it has been untaxed for 61 days. The car could then be crushed and the owner may get a fine.
How to get rid of abandoned car on private property
Follow the following steps to get rid of an abandoned car on private property:
Determine if the car is abandoned
The first step is to determine if the car meets the abandoned status. This depends on the legal definition of ‘abandoned vehicle’ by your state, so make sure the car meets your state’s definition of abandoned.
Typically, a car that remains on your private property for more than 48 hours is considered an abandoned car. So, if the unclaimed car has been on the property for over 48 hours, it may be abandoned.
Check your state law to determine what an abandoned car means. Otherwise, wait for the appropriate amount of time before you begin the ridding process.
Take photos of the car
While waiting for the tow company, take photographs of the abandoned car. Take photos of the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and license plates.
You should also take photos of any personal belongings in the vehicle before it is towed away. These photographs can protect you from potential lawsuits if the car owner decides to file a case against you.
Notify the authorities
Notify your local authorities about the abandoned car on your private property. Explain to them that you want to begin the process of having the car removed.
Instead of using the emergency lines, you can report an abandoned vehicle to your local law enforcement agencies through non-emergency numbers.
You must work with the local authority to complete the process of legally getting rid of the unclaimed car.
In some states, the local police might send a dispatcher to investigate the car for any possibility of tracking down the registered owner.
Fill out the removal application
The removal process involves completing paperwork to protect from any legal sanctions when the registered owner shows up.
Depending on your state, you submit your completed application alongside the required application fee in the form of a money order or check, for example, in the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are mailing your application, you do not mail cash. Credit or debit cards and temporary checks are not also accepted through the mail.
Note that the application fees may be non-refundable.
When you notify your local police, they can tag the abandoned car for at least 72 hours before giving orders for it to be towed away.
Note that only a towing and storage firm is authorized to remove the abandoned car from your private property at your request or by law enforcement officers.
Communicate with the tow company
The towing is not your responsibility, although some of the activities will be your responsibility.
The towing company may require you to provide information regarding why you are having the abandoned car towed when it was parked and your location.
Some states require a statement of the condition of the vehicle. If the car was abandoned for some months or years, be cautious when approaching it.
After the tow company removes the car, they may be legally required to notify the registered owner by certified mail that they have a specific number of days to claim the car or they auction it. The owner of the car will be responsible for any fees owed the tow company and could be charged for misdemeanor for abandoning the car.
If the abandoned car is junked, the tow yard can dispose of it immediately, even without the title.
How to obtain a lien for the abandoned car
A private property owner, tow company, salvage dealer, and repair facility may be able to obtain a lien on an abandoned or unclaimed car. This involves a legal process, including the notification of the vehicle owners, lienholders, and security interest holders.
In many states, you cannot obtain a certificate of title for an abandoned car on the basis of a surety bond. In Georgia, for example, a title is not issued on a vehicle that is not required to be titled in the state, including 1985 or older year models.
Notify the abandoned car owner
A tow company is required to notify the owner of the car, lienholders, and security interest holders about the towed abandoned car.
An authorized business may obtain the contact information of the car owner in person from the state’s division or use the official designated online vendor.
How long before a car is considered abandoned?
A car can be considered abandoned in as short as 48 hours on a private property depending on the state. Some states can remove the abandoned car within 15 days while some take up to 30 days to remove and dispose of it.
Ensure to keep a copy of the towing company’s name, contact number, physical address, and business license number on the file. You might have to forward this information to the abandoned car owner if they come looking for it in the future.