ATTENTION OWNERS OF REPAIR GARAGES AND STORAGE FACILITIES

(PART I OF II)

How to Acquire Certificate of Title for Unclaimed Vehicles After March 23, 2015

Prepared by SOGGDA Counsel, Mark Kingseed and Jennifer Roberts, of

Coolidge Wall Co., L.P.A.

On March 23, 2015, amended Ohio Revised Code § 4505.101 will govern how repair garages, places of storage, and towing services obtain a certificate of title for vehicles worth less than $3500 that have been left unclaimed for at least fifteen days.

In Part I of this “how to” installment, we will focus on the steps owners of repair garages and storage facilities need to take in order to obtain a proper certificate of title.  In Part II of this series, we will shift gears and explain the process for storage facilities or towing services which possess unclaimed towed vehicles. 

As a general disclaimer, this article is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not a substitute for legal advice nor is the subject matter of this article intended to be legal advice.  A violation of R.C. 4505.101 carries with it a possible (1) fine of up to $200 and/or (2) term of imprisonment of up to ninety days, in addition to not being able to get title to the unclaimed vehicle.  Therefore, it is recommended that before beginning this process, you contact an attorney.  For a flat fee of $300 per title, the attorneys at Coolidge Wall, L.P.A. will help you navigate the pitfalls of this new statute and get you title to your unclaimed vehicles. (For more details, see below).

PART I:

Step 1: Check to make sure this statute applies to you.

A.     Are you the owner of a repair garage or a place of storage?

A “repair garage” or “place of storage” means any business with which a person entered into an agreement for the repair of a motor vehicle or any business with which a person entered into an agreement for the storage of a motor vehicle.  If this does not apply to you, check back for Part II or contact an attorney for other options for obtaining proper title.

B.     Is the value of the vehicle less than $3500?

The value of the unclaimed vehicle must be less than $3500 in order for this statute to apply. 

-          Value = Wholesale value for the make and model of the unclaimed vehicle (as established by a recognized vehicle valuation guide – ie: Kelly Bluebook) minus both:

1.      The estimated cost of repairs to restore the motor vehicle to the wholesale value for that make and model of motor vehicle; and

2.      The cost of any agreed upon repairs.

There are certain circumstances where one in possession of a vehicle worth $3500 or more can obtain title through a Court order.  For more information on that process, contact an attorney.

C.     Has the vehicle been left unclaimed long enough?

The vehicle must have been left unclaimed for more than fifteen days following the completion of (1) the requested repair; or (2) the agreed term of storage in order for the statute to apply. 

Step 2: Conduct a title search.

A title search is mandated by the statute in order to make sure that the owner of the vehicle and any possible lienholders receive notice of your intention to obtain title to the vehicle (See Step 3 below regarding notices).  Currently, the form the BMV uses to cause a search of title is BMV Form 1173 found at http://publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/bmv1173.pdf.  It is important to complete this form completely (Parts A, B, and C) and accurately, including the VIN number of the unclaimed vehicle.  Any corrections the BMV requires you to make will result in an extension of processing time.  Save the results of your title search, as you may need them later to prove you abided by the requirements of the statute.

Step 3: Send notice to any owner and lienholder.

With the results of your title search in hand, a notice is required to be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of any and all owners and lienholders.  The notice must state (1) the location of the motor vehicle and (2) the value of the motor vehicle.  Remember to save the certified mail receipt and/or the notification that delivery was not possible as you will need those to fill out the affidavit in Step 4 below.

Step 4: Wait the required period of 15 days to allow any owner or lienholder to claim the vehicle, and then, execute the Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit.

If the motor vehicle remains unclaimed by all owners and lienholders for fifteen days after the mailing of the required notices, AND you have received either (1) the signed receipt from the certified mail, or (2) have been notified that delivery of the certified mail was not possible, you may obtain a certificate by executing the affidavit required by the BMV: the Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit. 

The current Unclaimed Vehicle Affidavit found at the BMV’s website has not been revised to reflect the new changes in the law.  A new affidavit which reflects these changes will likely be available after March 23, 2015.  Although this affidavit does not need to be presented to the BMV, it does need to be notarized.

Step 5: Present affidavit to clerk of courts and pay.

The last step in the process is to present the Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit to the clerk of courts in the county where your repair garage or storage facility is located.  At that time, you will need to pay the Clerk the applicable titling fees plus the base value of the vehicle minus actual expenses incurred (i.e., actual completed repair, agreed upon storage fees, etc.).  Be mindful that some counties require evidence as to actual expenses incurred.

Upon receipt of the proper funds and the proper completion of the Unclaimed Vehicle Affidavit, the Clerk will then present the repair garage or storage facility owner with a free and clear title.

Conclusion

The process to get title to an unclaimed vehicle can be tedious and confusing.  Contacting an attorney who is experienced in navigating the pitfalls of these requirements can save you unnecessary time and headaches.

Documents

BMV4202 (PDF Format)

BMV4202 (WORD Format)
 

ATTENTION OWNERS OF TOWING SERVICES AND STORAGE FACILITIES

(PART II OF II)

 

How to Acquire Certificate of Title for Unclaimed Vehicles After March 23, 2015

 

Prepared by SOGGDA Counsel

 Mark Kingseed and Jennifer Roberts of Coolidge Wall Co., L.P.A.

On March 23, 2015, amended Ohio Revised Code § 4505.101 will govern how owners of towing services or storage facilities obtain a certificate of title for vehicles towed pursuant to R.C. 4513.601, worth less than $3500, and have been left unclaimed for at least sixty days.

In Part II, we will explain the process for storage facilities or towing services which possess unclaimed towed vehicles. (Disclaimer:  This article is not intended as legal advice, nor is it a substitute for getting advice from your own attorney.) 

PART II:

Step 1: Ensure the vehicle has been towed pursuant to the requirements in R.C. 4513.601.

The unclaimed vehicle must have been towed from a private tow-away zone.  A private tow-away zone is only established if:

1)      There is proper signage, which means there must be a sign that is visible from all entrances of the property and at least 18” by 24” that includes the following:

·        A statement that the property is a tow-away zone;

·        A description of the person authorized to park on the property;

·        The times during which the parking restrictions are enforced;

·        The telephone number and address of the place a towed vehicle may be recovered any time during the day and night; and

·        A statement that failure to recover a towed vehicle may result in the loss of title to the vehicle as provided in division (B) of section 4505.101 of the Revised Code.

AND

2)      The vehicle is towed to a proper location.  A proper location:

·        Must be within twenty linear miles of the location of the private tow-away zone;

·        Must be well-lighted; and

·        Must be within reasonable walking distance to public transportation (if public transportation is available in the municipality).

Step 2:  Determine if the value of the vehicle is less than $3500.

The value of the unclaimed vehicle must be less than $3500 in order for this statute to apply. 

·        Value = Wholesale value for the make and model of the unclaimed vehicle (as established by a recognized vehicle valuation guide – ie: Kelly Bluebook) minus both:

1.      The estimated cost of repairs to restore the motor vehicle to the wholesale value for that make and model of motor vehicle; and

2.      The cost of any agreed upon repairs.

There are certain circumstances where one in possession of a vehicle worth $3500 or more can obtain title through a court order.  For more information on that process, contact an attorney. 

Step 3: Conduct a BMV title search, and send notices to the owner and any lienholder.

In order to obtain proper title, you must send the following notices to the owner’s and all lienholders’ last known address by certified or express mail with return receipt requested or by a commercial carrier service utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt.  Be sure to keep all verifications that notices were sent.

First notice:

Within five business days of removal of the vehicle from the private tow away zone.

Second notice:

If the vehicle has been left unclaimed, then notice must be sent thirty days after the first notice.

Third Notice:

If the vehicle has been left unclaimed, then notice must be sent forty-five days after the first notice.

Step 4: Wait sixty days after the owner and/or liendholder(s) signed for the first notice or if delivery was not possible, sixty days from the time the owner of the towing service or storage facility was notified delivery was not possible.

Step 5: Execute the Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit.

Since the new regulations are not effective until March 23, 2015, the required BMV form affidavit will likely not be available until after that time.  However, be prepared to:

 

1)      Make an itemized statement of the value of the motor vehicle;

2)      Verify that notices to remove the vehicle have been mailed to the owner and any lienholder;

3)      Affirm the length of time that the motor vehicle has remained unclaimed after the date the earliest notice required was received by the owner or lienholder or the towing service or storage facility was notified that delivery was not possible; and

4)      Assure that a BMV title search was conducted to determine if there are were outstanding liens on the motor vehicle.

 

Step 6: Present the Affidavit to clerk of courts, pay, and receive title.

Once notarized, the last step in the process is to present the Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit to the clerk of courts in the county where your towing service or storage facility is located.  At that time, you will need to pay the Clerk the applicable titling fees plus the base value of the vehicle minus actual expenses incurred (i.e., actual completed repair, agreed upon storage fees, etc.).  Be mindful that some counties require evidence as to actual expenses incurred.

Upon receipt of the proper funds and properly executed Unclaimed Vehicle Affidavit, the Clerk will then present the towing service or storage facility owner with a free and clear title.

Conclusion

The process to get title to an unclaimed vehicle can be tedious and confusing.  Contacting an attorney who is experienced in navigating the pitfalls of these requirements can save you unnecessary time and headaches.  

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COOLIDGE WALL WANTS TO HELP YOU OBTAIN TITLE TO THOSE UNCLAIMED VEHICLES             THAT HAVE BEEN TOWED AND ARE TAKING UP SPACE ON YOUR PROPERTY.  IF A VEHICLE ON YOUR PROPERTY QUALIFIES AS UNCLAIMED PURSUANT TO R.C. 4509.101, COOLIDGE WALL WILL PERFORM ALL STEPS NECESSARY TO GET YOU TITLE FREE AND CLEAR AND FAST

FOR A FLAT FEE OF $350 PER TITLE,

Contact Mark Kingseed, Esq. at kingseed@coollaw.com or Jennifer Roberts, Esq. at roberts@coollaw.com or by phone at 937-223-8177 to find out more.

--------------------------------------------------------Coolidge Wall is proud to serve the owners of small businesses by offering expertise in a full range of legal services, including: Corporate and Business, Labor and Employment, Worker’s Compensation, Litigation, and Commercial Real Estate law.