Car left in garage of property bought at auction

21 Replies

A couple days ago I purchased a property at the county foreclosure auction. I went and took a closer look at it after the auction and low and behold there was an old Toyota truck in the garage. The property is vacant with just some garbage left behind elsewhere in the home. My question is how do I go about getting title so I can sell it? There are some engine parts in the garage so I doubt it will run but I'm sure it's worth a couple hundred bucks at least. Has anybody else experienced this?

call the local police first. I had the same thing happen to me. They need to try and get a hold of the previous owner before you can go about getting title on it. I found it was more hassle than it was worth in my case.

Unfortunately, vehicles are personal property, and what you have is abandoned personal property. The Dept of Motor Vehicles would be able to track down the VIN or tags to an owner; whether that owner has a current address on file is not guaranteed of course, but if they have a driver's license they just might get a change of address filed. The DMV will probably be better able to advise you how to get title. The junk dealers might not take it without your having title.

That sounds like a pretty good deal. I didn't realize you don't need a title for a scrapper. I'll have my handyman take a look at it and if it's not easily runnable I'd rather just be rid of it. What do they give you for a small truck, $100 - $200?

I had the same thing happen last month, now I have a new work truck.

Lock it up first. Next check with your state, in Oklahoma I can file for a title 42 after I've had possession of a vehicle for 30 days. There are small companies that will file the paperwork for cheap($75). They send certified mail to lein holders and current registered owners. If any are interested they now have to pay you a storage fee of 30 days to get it back!
If no one comes forward the state will look over the paperwork and issue you a clean title for this truck. Hopefully it just needs a battery like mine did!

I evicted a tenant once who left a car in the garage. I called a towing company and they came and got it for free. They will then send a letter to the owner that they can recover it. Otherwise, it will be auctioned off. I don't think you will see any money from it unless you go through all of the steps to get the title. Probably not worth it.

You could "accidentally" roll it onto the street and then call parking enforcement to report an abandon vehicle. Sounds like the easiest solution if the vehicle is basically worthless.
If it was an old Viper, @Rich Weese and I would be fighting over it.

Originally posted by Jim S:
You could "accidentally" roll it onto the street and then call parking enforcement to report an abandon vehicle. Sounds like the easiest solution if the vehicle is basically worthless.
If it was an old Viper, Rich Weese and I would be fighting over it.

I was going to say the same thing. I don't think it's worth the hassle. If the guy left it there's most likely a reason...

You can't legally sell it or scrap it without title. You can go online to your state's DMV and it will tell you the steps. You first request owner info using the VIN and then there are steps for notification of the owner and holding an auction or taking title, etc.

That being said I once towed an abandoned car in a garage of one my properties to a vacant property that I owned across town. I called it in as abandoned and the city came and took it away. I thought it was only fair that I put it in front of a property where it wouldn't bother anyone. :)

How could you roll it to the street if you couldn't get into the vehicle and it was locked??

Seems the easiest thing would be too call a tow truck and have them haul for free and let them deal with it.

If it was a car worth money fixed up or a nicer vehicle then you could try to get title and make some money.If it was drive able and worth much you think they would have taken it or sold it for scrap themselves.

Sometimes those car title pawn companies own them and people stop making payments when it no longer runs anymore or they lose a job.

The title places take forever to get the vehicle back as they don't want it.

Assuming you can get title, why not donate it to charity? There are plenty of them out there, and you could probably get more as a write off than you could selling it for scrap. Plus, you might be helping someone else out in the process. Jmo.

Originally posted by Joel Owens:
How could you roll it to the street if you couldn't get into the vehicle and it was locked??

Seems the easiest thing would be too call a tow truck and have them haul for free and let them deal with it.

Where I am no legit towing company takes away a car without a title and then "deals with it". That's called grand theft auto. Abandoned vehicles have to be dealt with per your state laws. They'll move one without checking ownership, but they are not in the business of dealing with abandoned vehicles. Most cities and counties have regs that allow them to tow vehicles left on the street or in public places after so many days. But even they have to follow state laws regarding abandoned vehicles before selling or junking it.

You don't know how to get into a car that is locked? :)

I can get into a locked car, lol. It sounds more likely than not that this is going to be a pain with no compensation. Donating it sounds like a pretty good idea. Also now that I think about it I've seen bandit signs saying they scrap cars without title. I am going to have my handyman look at it and on his opinion it will probably get pushed into the street or donated.

Laws and ordinances vary and the OP needs to contact the police and DMV to find out what to do. Here, you can scrap a car without a title, family had an old 4 Runner and the engine caught fire. They got $500 for it and when they tow truck came they couldn't find the title, the driver/buyer said he didn't need it. I'm sure the parts will be back on the road again.....

no advice here..but for the people saying you need title to get a truck towed, that is incorrect..hang up a no parking/no trespassing a tow truck company, and tow the truck away..done. have done it at apartment buildings of mine a few don't need a title..if it's not your car, and it's on your property, good riddance. as far as scrapping, i've sold one old truck to a scrapper for 400 title..he said he didn't need the i kept it...not sure if that was illegal or not...seems more like the buyers issue though


@Bryan A. I like your idea about posting a sign, which I hadn't thought of, which of course is what apt. mgrs/owners do. I have an SFH with an abandoned vehicle and called some towing companies today. They said that if I put a 72 hour remove or tow tag on the car, they'll come get it after the 72 hours. They didn't seem too strict about proving that the tag had been there 72 hours.

I know this is an old post but i would like to help in anyway that I can. 

  • Old Toyota trucks can be worth a lot more than most people would think. There very well could be a couple thousand dollars sitting there depending on condition. The nice thing is that the condition doesn't have to be that great. People loves these trucks. 
  • If you don't have the keys and you want to move it and just be done with it you can break the steering wheel lock with a big screw driver and then disconnect the drive shaft so it will roll. you should be able to find instructions for this online and it isn't too difficult. 

I hope that may provide even a little bit of a jumping off point for someone. 

I am looking for this information because I am looking at a house that has a 78 eldorado and a model A in the garage. The house is part of an estate settlement.

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I am looking for information as well. I am acquiring a single family home where a vehicle has been abandoned - tires partially or fully flat. Open. Found the last registration and insurance card, along with insurance broker information inside. Car has water inside. The idea of inflating tires and rolling into street was first thought my spouse came up with. Then report as abandoned car. Its visible from street, and likely there for a year. I tend to believe police have seen it and know its on the property, so could become an issue to just roll it into the street. Plus its a nice neighborhood, the street is a busy street and do not need to upset the neighbors - who very well know this car is abandoned at this house. Who knows if the owners have even kept a copy of the title, or will respond. And in this state the rules state you have to list it in public paper, wait 90 days - no time for this process, want to hand it off. Or at the very least, start the process before we close? Cannot take the trespassing approach since do not own the property yet. Any experience and advice can share, welcome it

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