how to dispose a car (personal property) left in a garage of an estate

15 Replies

Hi everyone,

An old car has been left in a garage of a property I am working on. It is an estate and there is no title, document, or any kind of records of that car. What is the proper way to dispose it?

Have a blessing day.

Mimmo

If you just want to get it off your property then post it on craigslist for free or a couple hundred and someone will likely have it gone asap. 

Originally posted by @Chris K. :

If you just want to get it off your property then post it on craigslist for free or a couple hundred and someone will likely have it gone asap. 

 You can't sell something that you don't own.  You'd have to check into your local/state laws on abandoned vehicles and there is often a process you can go through to get title to an abandoned vehicle on your property.  You're talking about a bunch of paperwork and probably 1-2 months of your time so you can sell something for scrap?  

What I'd do is just drag it out onto a city street and call the city about an abandoned vehicle on the street, they'll come get it eventually if it's on the street.  If it's on your property you'd have to call a private tow company to remove it. 

@Patrick L.: that is exactly my concern. I do not want to have somebody coming after me later on claiming to be the owner of that car and ask for refunds etc....

Originally posted by @Patrick L. :
Originally posted by @Chris K.:

If you just want to get it off your property then post it on craigslist for free or a couple hundred and someone will likely have it gone asap. 

 You can't sell something that you don't own.  You'd have to check into your local/state laws on abandoned vehicles and there is often a process you can go through to get title to an abandoned vehicle on your property.  You're talking about a bunch of paperwork and probably 1-2 months of your time so you can sell something for scrap?  

What I'd do is just drag it out onto a city street and call the city about an abandoned vehicle on the street, they'll come get it eventually if it's on the street.  If it's on your property you'd have to call a private tow company to remove it. 

Technically you have to file just as much paperwork to "move the car to the city street" as you do if you want to sell it. So either file the paperwork with the authorities and don't touch the car or just get rid of it on your own. 

@Mimmo La Marra  

When you purchased the property from the estate, did your agreement state that all chattels in or on the property were included?   If so, the car is now yours and you can dispose of it as you see fit.

If not, then you need to contact the vendor/executor and/or follow the process for abandoned vehicles (property) in your jurisdiction.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :

Technically you have to file just as much paperwork to "move the car to the city street" as you do if you want to sell it. So either file the paperwork with the authorities and don't touch the car or just get rid of it on your own. 

 Selling it is a whole different category, it can be considered fraud or theft if you don't go through the property process.  If something came up with the previous owner for whatever reason you could have issues with that owner and the person you sold it to. Moving it and letting the city tow it will result in the city attempting to notify the owner and holding it for a required period of time prior to auctioning it.   I'm not saying it's the most by the book solution but it's often the easiest, especially if the vehicle has no value other than scrap and you don't expect anyone to come back for it. The other option is to call a private tow company and have it towed at your expense.  The owner would be liable for storage charges and if not paid in whatever amount of time the law allows they would be allowed to dispose of it.  

Originally posted by @Patrick L. :

 Selling it is a whole different category, it can be considered fraud or theft if you don't go through the property process.  If something came up with the previous owner for whatever reason you could have issues with that owner and the person you sold it to. Moving it and letting the city tow it will result in the city attempting to notify the owner and holding it for a required period of time prior to auctioning it.   I'm not saying it's the most by the book solution but it's often the easiest, especially if the vehicle has no value other than scrap and you don't expect anyone to come back for it. The other option is to call a private tow company and have it towed at your expense.  The owner would be liable for storage charges and if not paid in whatever amount of time the law allows they would be allowed to dispose of it.  

Agreed. I originally assumed he owned it since he mentioned "estate" but if not then yes his best option is to just go thru the process if he has concerns someone may come back for it.

You guys make it way too complicated. 

If there is no value to the car, either sell it you an auto dismantler for parts or push in onto the (public) street and call law enforcement to tow off to auto graveyard. 

If there is value (say, more than $300-500) then file to do a lien sale for storage fees or get a car wholesaler in your area to donut do you and split the profits. 

If it's a funny looking car and you don't recognize the manufacturer, Fer -RAR - i, contact me and I'll try to help "dispose" of it, all at no charge to you. 

I know a guy....he just pushes them onto the street.

Originally posted by @Roy N. :

@Mimmo La Marra 

When you purchased the property from the estate, did your agreement state that all chattels in or on the property were included?   If so, the car is now yours and you can dispose of it as you see fit.

If not, then you need to contact the vendor/executor and/or follow the process for abandoned vehicles (property) in your jurisdiction.

 Yes. As is and all included. The problem is that one of the guy that was living on the property was renting the garage to a friend for him to use as a shop to fix that car. So technically the car should not be included 

thank you everyone for your input. I will keep you posted on how I will end up handling this.

Mimmo La Marra

443-629-8771

Don't get confused on your objective. If you don't want the car, make it the last registered owner's problem. Use my three (3) step system:

1) Take a picture, do NOT post it anywhere. 

2) Push onto public street

3) Call law enforcement about removing "abandoned car in street" that's an eyesore.

I have been a cop for 13 years. Don't push it into the street. Look up the abandoned vehicle laws for your state and follow them. They are probably pretty simple. If you push it into the street and someone sees you and then there is an accident, guess who is getting sued? In Indiana, we deal with this all the time. Property owner calls PD. We tag it for 72 hours and attempt to contact last owner of info is available. After 72 hours you can have it towed off and then it is the tow companies problem. The $150 tow bill is a small price to pay to be legal.

Originally posted by @Dale Hensley :

I have been a cop for 13 years. Don't push it into the street. Look up the abandoned vehicle laws for your state and follow them. They are probably pretty simple. If you push it into the street and someone sees you and then there is an accident, guess who is getting sued? In Indiana, we deal with this all the time. Property owner calls PD. We tag it for 72 hours and attempt to contact last owner of info is available. After 72 hours you can have it towed off and then it is the tow companies problem. The $150 tow bill is a small price to pay to be legal.

 THANK YOU Dale!

after several months of dealing with the MVA and local Town Court, I finally was able to narrow down the exact process on how to dispose or re-title this abandoned car:

1) if you happen to know how to track down the last owner of the vehicle, send him/her a registered letter asking either to come to pick up the vehicle, or to sign the title over to you

2) if you do not get a reply, call the police as suggested by @Dale Hensley above. Police will tag the vehicle as abandoned and attempt to contact the owner. 

3) at that point the vehicle could be sold at an auction and if nobody wants buys it, you can follow the writ-of-mandamus route to take possession of it.

Hope this can help other fellow investors that might run into a similar issue

Mimmo

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