The Alabama Department of Revenue announced today the requirements that are now effective per Legislative Act 2015-470, which amends the unclaimed/abandoned motor vehicle law.
Effective July 1, 2016, a person or entity, including towing companies, in possession of an “unclaimed” motor vehicle must comply with the following requirements before a motor vehicle can be sold as an “abandoned” motor vehicle. ADOR will provide an unclaimed/abandoned motor vehicle online portal for this purpose. The portal will launch on the Motor Vehicle Division Web page on July 1.
Unclaimed motor vehicles include the following:
- A motor vehicle left unattended on a public road or highway for more than 48 hours.
- A motor vehicle not left on private property for repairs that has remained on private or other public property for a period of more than 48 hours without the consent of the owner or lessee of the property.
- A motor vehicle left on private property for repairs that has not been reclaimed within 48 hours from the latter of either the date the repairs were completed or the agreed upon redemption date.
- A motor vehicle left unattended because the driver has been arrested or is impaired by an accident or for any other reason which causes the need for the vehicle to be immediately removed as determined necessary by law enforcement.
- A motor vehicle that is subject to an impoundment order for outstanding traffic or parking violations.
Within five calendar days from the date the vehicle was first considered “unclaimed,” the person or entity in possession of the vehicle must report the “unclaimed” vehicle to ADOR. A 45-day hold will be placed on the vehicle title record. NOTE: Storage fees may not be assessed unless the unclaimed vehicle is reported to ADOR within five calendar days of the date the vehicle becomes unclaimed.
Within five calendar days from the date the motor vehicle was reported as “unclaimed” to ADOR, the person or entity in possession of the motor vehicle shall use the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) to determine the state in which the vehicle is titled and/or registered. A list of NMVTIS service providers may be found at vehiclehistory.gov.
Within five calendar days of receiving the NMVTIS record, the person or entity in possession of the motor vehicle must obtain the official record from the state of record and send a Notice of Possession to the owner and lienholder of record. This notice must be sent via certified mail. If the vehicle is not redeemed within this period of time, the vehicle will be considered “abandoned” and may be sold at a public auction. If the auction is to be held in the county in which the vehicle is registered, the auction must be publicized once a week for two consecutive weeks in a local publication. View a list of all unclaimed/abandoned motor vehicles available to the public here.
Within five calendar days of the receipt of the Notice of Public Auction, ADOR shall send a Notice of Termination to the current owner and lienholder of record. After 35 calendar days from the Notice of Public Auction, the vehicle may be sold. The abandoned vehicle bill of sale will be generated from the unclaimed/abandoned portal and will be used to apply for the Alabama certificate of title.
Prior to the sale of an abandoned vehicle, the sale may be contested by filing an appeal with the Alabama Tax Tribunal. After the sale of an abandoned vehicle, the sale may be contested in circuit court.
NOTE: If the notice of the sale was posted prior to July 1, 2016, the vehicle may be sold under the abandoned motor vehicle law that was in effect prior to July 1, 2016. However, the vehicle must be titled prior to the end of the calendar year 2016, or the purchaser would be required to post a title surety bond in order to title the vehicle.
For more information regarding the unclaimed/abandoned vehicle requirements, please contact ADOR’s Motor Vehicle Division at 334-242-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.