2016 Florida Statutes
Transfer of ownership by operation of law.
Transfer of ownership by operation of law.
319.28 Transfer of ownership by operation of law.—
(1)(a) In the event of the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle or mobile home by operation of law as upon inheritance, devise or bequest, order in bankruptcy, insolvency, replevin, attachment, execution, or other judicial sale or whenever the engine of a motor vehicle is replaced by another engine or whenever a motor vehicle is sold to satisfy storage or repair charges or repossession is had upon default in performance of the terms of a security agreement, chattel mortgage, conditional sales contract, trust receipt, or other like agreement, and upon the surrender of the prior certificate of title or, when that is not possible, presentation of satisfactory proof to the department of ownership and right of possession to such motor vehicle or mobile home, and upon payment of the fee prescribed by law and presentation of an application for certificate of title, the department may issue to the applicant a certificate of title thereto.
(b) When the application for a certificate of title is made by an heir of a previous owner who died intestate, it shall not be necessary to accompany the application with an order of a probate court if the applicant files with the department an affidavit that the estate is not indebted and the surviving spouse, if any, and the heirs, if any, have amicably agreed among themselves upon a division of the estate. If the previous owner died testate, the application shall be accompanied by a certified copy of the will, if probated, and an affidavit that the estate is solvent with sufficient assets to pay all just claims or, if the will is not being probated, by a sworn copy of the will and an affidavit that the estate is not indebted.
(c) If a surviving spouse who would be entitled to issuance of a certificate of title under paragraph (b) wishes to dispose of the vehicle rather than retaining it for his or her own use, the surviving spouse shall not be required to obtain a certificate of title in his or her own name, but may assign to the transferee the certificate of title which was issued to the decedent. An application for a certificate of title by an applicant taken through such a surviving spouse under this paragraph shall be accompanied by the same documentation as would an application by a surviving spouse under paragraph (b), which documentation shall be supplied to the transferee by the surviving spouse.
(d) A mobile home that is repossessed is exempt from registration if the mobile home is not transferred or titled for occupancy.
(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), only an affidavit by the person, or agent of the person, to whom possession of such motor vehicle or mobile home has so passed, setting forth facts entitling him or her to such possession and ownership, together with a copy of the journal entry, court order, or instrument upon which such claim of possession and ownership is founded, shall be considered satisfactory proof of ownership and right of possession.
(b) In case of repossession of a motor vehicle or mobile home pursuant to the terms of a security agreement or similar instrument, an affidavit by the party to whom possession has passed stating that the vehicle or mobile home was repossessed upon default in the terms of the security agreement or other instrument shall be considered satisfactory proof of ownership and right of possession. At least 5 days prior to selling the repossessed vehicle, any subsequent lienholder named in the last issued certificate of title shall be sent notice of the repossession by certified mail, on a form prescribed by the department. If such notice is given and no written protest to the department is presented by a subsequent lienholder within 15 days after the date on which the notice was mailed, the certificate of title shall be issued showing no liens. If the former owner or any subsequent lienholder files a written protest under oath within such 15-day period, the department shall not issue the certificate of title for 10 days thereafter. If within the 10-day period no injunction or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction has been served on the department commanding it not to deliver the certificate of title, the department shall deliver the certificate of title to the applicant or as may otherwise be directed in the application showing no other liens than those shown in the application. Any lienholder who has repossessed a vehicle in this state in compliance with the provisions of this section must apply to a tax collector’s office in this state or to the department for a certificate of title pursuant to s. 319.323. Proof of the required notice to subsequent lienholders shall be submitted together with regular title fees. Any person found guilty of violating any requirements of this paragraph shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(c) If the applicant for a certificate of title under this section cannot produce satisfactory proof of ownership and right of possession, he or she may submit such evidence as he or she may have, and the department may thereupon, if it finds the evidence sufficient, issue a certificate of title.
(3) A dealer of industrial equipment who conducts a repossession, as defined in s. 493.6101(22), of such equipment is not subject to licensure as a recovery agent or recovery agency if the dealer is regularly engaged in the sale of the equipment for a particular manufacturer, the lender is affiliated with that manufacturer, and the dealer uses his or her own employees to make such repossessions.
History.—s. 9, ch. 23658, 1947; ss. 1, 2, ch. 23723, 1947; s. 7, ch. 25150, 1949; s. 8, ch. 28184, 1953; s. 1, ch. 61-446; s. 6, ch. 65-190; ss. 24, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 82-134; s. 10, ch. 83-218; s. 344, ch. 95-148; s. 9, ch. 95-333; s. 15, ch. 96-413; s. 257, ch. 99-248; s. 113, ch. 2002-20; s. 14, ch. 2010-223; s. 24, ch. 2012-181; s. 24, ch. 2013-160.