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Proper procedure to dispose of a car in PA


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I'm located in NY and here i file for a garageman's lien. The state (after about 30-45 days) will send me documentation in my DBA name  proving after we foreclose on the lien, we're legal owner of the vehicle. Its roughly $100.00 and total legitimate. Maybe PA has the same statue?

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You need to be a salvor in PA to get rid of cars with no title. To become a salvor you need to fill out an inch thick of paperwork that I said screw that. When a car is left sit for more than 24 hours you can call the state police and they come fill out the paperwork and call a salvor to tow it away for you, but you get no money in that scenario.

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Unfortunately in Pennsylvania there is no good way for  tower to dispose of abandoned vehicles in their impound yard. As Stuart mentioned above, only a PA licensed Salvor can take a car with no title and only after law enforcement has completed a abandoned vehicle report. You will not get anything for it. The Salvor can, after proper notice and 20 day reclaim period, dispose of the vehicle by scrapping or paring it out.

 

Now, if the vehicle has a high value there is a process in Pennsylvania where you can go to your County Court of Common Pleas and file a lawsuit to have the current title vacated and a new title issued to you. This requires you to pay a fee, provide notice to the last known owner and lienholders plus appear before the Judge. Not every County is comfortable with this process, many have never done it or rarely do it and it costs several hundred dollars so it should only be done on a vehicle with good resale value. In my County the whole thing costs between $500-$750 if you do all the filings and work yourself, triple that if you need help from an attorney.

 

I have successfully used the warehouseman's lien process in Pennsylvania, however proper notice to the last know owner must have been made within 10 days of you taking possession of the vehicle (proof will be required) and it is only applicable to the storage portion of the towing invoice. This means, if you have a high dollar value tow invoice the vehicle owner has refused to pay, instead choosing to abandon the vehicle with you, you can only file a warehouseman's lien for the fees directly related to storage and if the owner decides to reclaim the vehicle the Court will allow them to have it for just the storage claim. This can be a dangerous process to use in Pennsylvania.

 

It is also important to note that you must regularly engage in the business of storage of motor vehicles to use a warehouseman's lien. Obviously most towing companies, especially those doing law enforcement or PPI towing do, but the average garage does not and Pennsylvania law/regulation make it clear a garageman's lien can only end with a Sheriff's sale after a Court issues a judgement. Make sure you truly meet the definition of a warehouseman before attempting to secure a clear title using that procedure.

 

Here are links to three PennDOT fact sheets regarding processing of abandoned vehicles.

Involuntary Transfer of Ownership

Warehouseman's Lien

Abandoned Vehicles on Private Property

 

Here is the forms used in my home County, Pike, to obtain a Court ordered title transfer for unclaimed vehicles (used in conjunction to the warehouseman's lien process). Your County Court will have their own forms and process.

Pike County Alternative Title Packet

 

Lastly, in case you are thinking about registering with the Commonwealth as a Salvor here is their information manual.

PA Salvors Manual

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  • 1 month later...

The one I am having an issue with is still here.  The comical part of this is I went to High School with the guy who wrecked it.  I know where he lives,, have called his house and they told me he no longer lives there...........but that is the address on the registration card in the truck.  I am waiting until I run in to him, it is a small community, eventually I will see him.

 

In the future, if I call the State Police to get a car abandoned, will they call a salvor that I recommend?  I know a few of the junk yard guys around here who would work with me on those scenarios if the police will allow it.  

A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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On 9/29/2021 at 8:15 PM, Stubborn66 said:

The one I am having an issue with is still here.  The comical part of this is I went to High School with the guy who wrecked it.  I know where he lives,, have called his house and they told me he no longer lives there...........but that is the address on the registration card in the truck.  I am waiting until I run in to him, it is a small community, eventually I will see him.

 

In the future, if I call the State Police to get a car abandoned, will they call a salvor that I recommend?  I know a few of the junk yard guys around here who would work with me on those scenarios if the police will allow it.  

It is possible but unlikely the PSP will let you pick the salvor. They usually have a contract/agreement with just one or two per county for abandoned vehicles unless you are a large county. Often they will just call the next salvor on their rotation to avoid playing favorites. In my county there are several licensed salvors that are also tow yards, but only one licensed salvor with a junk yard/scrap facility so he gets all the abandoned vehicles that the police call for, including the ones other towers can't process/dispose of themselves within the law. Really unfair situation for PA towers.

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On 9/29/2021 at 8:15 PM, Stubborn66 said:

The one I am having an issue with is still here.  The comical part of this is I went to High School with the guy who wrecked it.  I know where he lives,, have called his house and they told me he no longer lives there...........but that is the address on the registration card in the truck.  I am waiting until I run in to him, it is a small community, eventually I will see him.

 

In the future, if I call the State Police to get a car abandoned, will they call a salvor that I recommend?  I know a few of the junk yard guys around here who would work with me on those scenarios if the police will allow it.  

 PSP in our area has a rotation... so it should go to the next up on rotation for abandon vehicles..... however they cant seem to keep track of the so called rotation on a good day... so anything is possible.

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