Car Title Question (NY & FL)

I’m trying to find some answers for my housemate. He has a car that he was indefinitely borrowing from someone, and the owner is not in touch with him any longer… nothing shady here, she actually moved to England and has probably all but forgotten about the car.

The registration (registered in FL) has since expired, and he would like to register it here in NY… and we’re both tired of looking at it sitting in the front yard (its been about 2 years).

Does anyone know what it would take for him to get the title in his name, so he can register the car and drive it? I don’t know if there is a copy of the registration in the car, but we have plate sticker.

btw, its a late 90’s Ford Aspire… purple-ish. We call it “The Bluberry Muffin”. So, its not going to be a big loss if he can’t register it.

He MUST contact the origional owner. There is no way he can do this legally without her. She will have to sign the vehilce over to him.

My first thought was that there has to be a way to get title to an abandoned vehicle, else how would the tow companies handle the ones that are left dead on the roadside? But then I thought that maybe those titles actually go to the State, and perhaps individuals cannot get them. So now, not doubting Mike, but just to get an official answer, I think you should ask the MVA or DMV or whatever they have in NY. (I can just imagine that you would have to let the State take title, and then try to buy it an an auction!). Good luck.

Yes you can get a title from an abandoned vehicle…But it’s not just a matter of going down to the DMV and saying the car is abandoned. You have to get the police involved…And they’ll actually tow it to a holding yard and try to contact the owners. It will sit there for MONTHS until it is determined that the vehicle is abandoned. Then the STATE will auction it off. Abandoned vehicles belong to the state. I went through this with one of my tenents who I evicted. They left a car on my property. I tried to seize it for back rent payment. Nope…state wouldn’t let me. They impounded it and then auctioned it off about 6 months later.

You need to contact the DMW and see what the options are since law varies from state to state.

In Oklahoma one can get a title to an abandoned vehicle or one that has a lien on it by filing what is called a “Title 42”.
It’s a fairly simple process that is done all of the time, but the process (if any) may be called something else in NY or FL.

Your housemate’s friend (in England) still legally owns the car. He will have to talk to her about transferring the title to him. Since this involves both a change of states and a change of ownership, the paperwork might get complicated. He should start by contacting her (if possible) to see if she’d like to give up the car (or sell it for $1 or something), and find out if she has the title paper (some states require that it be kept in the car – check there). If not, she’ll have to contact the FL DMV to get a replacement title, and then sign it over to him. He will need to talk to the NY DMV (and maybe the FL DMV) to find out what’s needed to transfer ownership and state, and which order to do it in.

It might be easier just to get the state to seize it as an abandoned vehicle, and be rid of it. The police will get involved and try to track down the owner, so your housemate might as well try contacting her first.

Well, its been another year and a half and the car is still sitting here! It looks pretty hopeless… in NY, the state does have to seize it, and then we would have to try our luck at the auction. However, I’ve come up with two other options and wanted to run them by the forum.

  1. I looked up the VIN through Florida DMV, and there is still a lein holder listed on the title… some company in TX. Would it be a good idea to contact them and try to get the title through them? At worst, I suppose they could demand an unreasonable amount of money for the title, and we have it hauled away. (and we can just have it junked w/o a title as a last resort).

  2. We get a third party involved who lives in a state that conducts lien sales. We know several people in CA who would do this for us. Only, the car is still in NY. The CA paperwork does allow for cars last registered out of state, but it doesn’t say anything about the car having to be in CA.