(1) Application for a certificate of title shall be made upon a form prescribed by the department, shall be filed with the department, and shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed in this chapter. If a certificate of title has previously been issued for a motor vehicle or mobile home in this state, the application for a certificate of title shall be accompanied by the certificate of title duly assigned, or assigned and reassigned, unless otherwise provided for in this chapter. If the motor vehicle or mobile home for which application for a certificate of title is made is a new motor vehicle or new mobile home for which one or more manufacturers’ statements of origin are required by the provisions of s. 319.21, the application for a certificate of title shall be accompanied by all such manufacturers’ statements of origin. (2) The applicant for a certificate of title shall indicate on the application if the motor vehicle is to be used as a taxicab, police vehicle, or lease vehicle or if the motor vehicle or mobile home is a rebuilt vehicle, as those terms are defined in s. 319.14. Upon issuance of a certificate of title for such vehicle, the department shall stamp, in a conspicuous place on the title, words stating the nature of the proposed use of the vehicle or stating that the vehicle has been rebuilt and may have previously been declared a total loss vehicle due to damage. This subsection applies to a mobile home, travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, or fifth-wheel recreation trailer only when the mobile home or vehicle is a rebuilt vehicle as defined in s. 319.14. (3) If a certificate of title has not previously been issued for a motor vehicle or mobile home in this state, the application, unless otherwise provided for in this chapter, shall be accompanied by a proper bill of sale or sworn statement of ownership, or a duly certified copy thereof, or by a certificate of title, bill of sale, or other evidence of ownership required by the law of the state or county from which the motor vehicle or mobile home was brought into this state. The application shall also be accompanied by:
(a)1. A sworn affidavit from the seller and purchaser verifying that the vehicle identification number shown on the affidavit is identical to the vehicle identification number shown on the motor vehicle; or
2. An appropriate departmental form evidencing that a physical examination has been made of the motor vehicle by the owner and by a duly constituted law enforcement officer in any state, a licensed motor vehicle dealer, a license inspector as provided by s. 320.58, or a notary public commissioned by this state and that the vehicle identification number shown on such form is identical to the vehicle identification number shown on the motor vehicle; and
(b) If the vehicle is a used car original, a sworn affidavit from the owner verifying that the odometer reading shown on the affidavit is identical to the odometer reading shown on the motor vehicle in accordance with the requirements of 49 C.F.R. s. 580.5 at the time that application for title is made. For the purposes of this section, the term “used car original” means a used vehicle coming into and being titled in this state for the first time.
(c) If the vehicle is an ancient or antique vehicle, as defined in s. 320.086, the application shall be accompanied by a certificate of title; a bill of sale and a registration; or a bill of sale and an affidavit by the owner defending the title from all claims. The bill of sale must contain a complete vehicle description to include the vehicle identification or engine number, year make, color, selling price, and signatures of the seller and purchaser.
Verification of the vehicle identification number is not required for any new motor vehicle; any mobile home; any trailer or semitrailer with a net weight of less than 2,000 pounds; or any travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, or fifth-wheel recreation trailer.
(4) The application for a certificate of title for a motor vehicle or mobile home previously titled or registered outside this state shall show on its face such fact and shall indicate the time and place of the last issuance of certificate of title, or registration, of such motor vehicle or mobile home outside this state and the name and address of the governmental officer, agency, or authority making such registration, together with such further information relative to its previous registration as may reasonably be required by the department, including the time and place of original registration, if known, and if different from the last foreign registration. The applicant shall surrender to the department all certificates, registration cards, or other evidence of foreign registration as may be in his or her possession or under his or her control.
(5) The certificate of title issued by the department for a motor vehicle or mobile home previously registered outside this state shall give the name of the state or country in which the vehicle was last registered outside this state. The department shall use reasonable diligence in ascertaining whether or not the facts in the application are true; and, if satisfied that the applicant is the owner of the motor vehicle or mobile home and that the application is in the proper form, it shall issue a certificate of title.
(6)(a) In the case of the sale of a motor vehicle or mobile home by a licensed dealer to a general purchaser, the certificate of title must be obtained in the name of the purchaser by the dealer upon application signed by the purchaser, and in each other case the certificate must be obtained by the purchaser. In each case of transfer of a motor vehicle or mobile home, the application for a certificate of title, a corrected certificate, or an assignment or reassignment must be filed within 30 days after the delivery of the motor vehicle or after consummation of the sale of the mobile home to the purchaser. An applicant must pay a fee of $20, in addition to all other fees and penalties required by law, for failing to file such application within the specified time. In the case of the sale of a motor vehicle by a licensed motor vehicle dealer to a general purchaser who resides in another state or country, the dealer is not required to apply for a certificate of title for the motor vehicle; however, the dealer must transfer ownership and reassign the certificate of title or manufacturer’s certificate of origin to the purchaser, and the purchaser must sign an affidavit, as approved by the department, that the purchaser will title and register the motor vehicle in another state or country.
(b) If a licensed dealer acquires a motor vehicle or mobile home as a trade-in, the dealer must file with the department, within 30 days, a notice of sale signed by the seller. The department shall update its database for that title record to indicate “sold.” A licensed dealer need not apply for a certificate of title for any motor vehicle or mobile home in stock acquired for stock purposes except as provided in s. 319.225. (7) If an applicant for a certificate of title is unable to provide the department with a certificate of title that assigns the prior owner’s interest in the motor vehicle, the department may accept a bond in the form prescribed by the department, along with an affidavit in a form prescribed by the department, which includes verification of the vehicle identification number and an application for title. (a) The bond must be:
1. In a form prescribed by the department;
2. Executed by the applicant;
3. Issued by a person authorized to conduct a surety business in this state;
4. In an amount equal to two times the value of the vehicle as determined by the department; and
5. Conditioned to indemnify all prior owners and lienholders and all subsequent purchasers of the vehicle or persons who acquire a security interest in the vehicle, and their successors in interest, against any expense, loss, or damage, including reasonable attorney fees, occurring because of the issuance of the certificate of title for the vehicle or for a defect in or undisclosed security interest on the right, title, or interest of the applicant to the vehicle.
(b) An interested person has a right to recover on the bond for a breach of the bond’s condition. The aggregate liability of the surety to all persons may not exceed the amount of the bond.
(c) A bond under this subsection expires on the third anniversary of the date the bond became effective.
(d) The affidavit must:
1. Be in a form prescribed by the department;
2. Include the facts and circumstances under which the applicant acquired ownership and possession of the motor vehicle;
3. Disclose that no security interests, liens, or encumbrances against the motor vehicle are known to the applicant against the motor vehicle; and
4. State that the applicant has the right to have a certificate of title issued.
(8) The department shall in no event issue a certificate of title for any motor vehicle or mobile home to any applicant until the applicant has shown that:
(a) All sales or use taxes due on the transfer of the motor vehicle or mobile home are paid.
(b) A current motor vehicle registration as required by s. 320.02, except for a vehicle not required by law to have such registration, has been obtained.
(c) In each case in which a mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit is classified as real property and an “RP” series sticker has been issued, the applicant has informed the property appraiser of the county wherein the mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit is to be located of the intended site of the mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit.
(d) The provisions of s. 319.225 have been complied with.
(9) The title certificate or application for title must contain the applicant’s full first name, middle initial, last name, date of birth, sex, and the license plate number. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by Florida or another state, or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable; verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state; or a Florida city or county business license or number. In lieu of the license plate number, the individual or business applicant must provide an affidavit certifying that the motor vehicle to be titled will not be operated upon the public highways of this state.
(10) The department, upon the issuance of a certificate of title for a mobile home upon which no identification or serial number is affixed or ascertainable, may assign and require the permanent affixation upon such mobile home of an identification number. Prior to the assignment of any identification number, the department shall require satisfactory assurances that the application for a certificate of title and identification number is not being made for any unlawful purpose.
(11) The department shall use security procedures, processes, and materials in the preparation and issuance of each certificate of title to prohibit to the extent possible a person’s ability to alter, counterfeit, duplicate, or modify the certificate of title.
(12) All titles, manufacturers’ statements of origin, applications, and supporting documents submitted with the application, including, but not limited to, odometer statements, vehicle identification number verifications, bills of sale, indicia of ownership, dealer reassignments, photographs, and any personal identification, affidavits, or documents required by or submitted to the department, shall be retained by the department for not less than 10 years.