WHAT THE COUNTY CLERK SHOULD DO:
- If a county clerk or county clerk staff is asked a question related to abandoned vehicles left unattended on public or private property, they can:
- Refer them to the Vehicle Services Customer Call Center at 615-741-3101, OR
- Refer them to the Request For Verification of Ownership On Vehicles Found Abandoned/Immobile Or Unattended form(AV form).
- Advise them to send the completed AV form to: Department of Revenue, Vehicle Services Division, 44 Vantage Way, Suite 160, Nashville, TN 37243,
- Tow form signed by person(s) or Law Enforcement Officer that requested the tow
- An application to title and register these vehicles must be accompanied by the following:
- Affidavit of Sales Under Special Conditions
- Verification of Ownership from the Division (AV form or TIES report)
- Registered mail receipts from all parties (registered owner(s), all lienholders or the lessor). Please note, green cards and USPS electronic signature forms may be accepted.
- A copy of the ad placed in the newspaper
- Itemized statement of storage and towing fees
- If applicable, Odometer Disclosure Statement
WHAT THE PUBLIC MAY/MAY NOT DO:
- The public may report vehicles left abandoned, immobile or unattended to law enforcement.
- Private property owners such as apartment buildings may call a towing firm to have the vehicle removed and sign a tow slip stating they are requesting the vehicle to be removed
- The public may not:
- Have the vehicle towed
- Sell the vehicle
- Register the vehicle
- Obtain ownership of the vehicle through the Certification of Ownership or Surety Bond processes
- “Abandoned Vehicle” is a vehicle
- Over 4 years old left unattended on public property for more than 10 days
- In an obvious state of disrepair left unattended on public property more than 3 days
- On public or private property illegally parked for more than 48 hours
- On private property without owner’s consent for more than 48 hours
- Stored, parked or left in a garage, trailer park or other parking lot more than 30 consecutive days
- “Immobile Vehicle” is a vehicle that is incapable of moving under its own power due to accident, breakdown, weather or other emergency situation.
- “Unattended Vehicle” is a vehicle
- On public or private property unattended by the owner/operator that interferes with or prevents the normal flow of traffic; OR
- Left unattended due to the arrest of the owner/operator.
WHO CAN SUBMIT THE AV FORM (Authorized Users):
- Law Enforcement Agencies
- Tennessee Towing Companies
- Title Services
- Salvage Yard Companies
STEPS FOR AUTHORIZED USERS:
- Authorized Users must verify ownership of these vehicles, within three (3) business days of taking the vehicle into custody. The verification can be obtained in one of two ways:
- By a law enforcement’s search of current motor vehicle records, provided through the Tennessee Information Enforcement System (TIES), OR
- By completing the Request For Verification of Ownership On Vehicles Found Abandoned/Immobile Or Unattended Form (AV form)
- There is no fee for law enforcement submitting this form for processing.
- Law enforcement must furnish authorization to tow
- After owner information has been verified, authorized users must within three (3) business days notify by registered mail, return receipt requested, the last known registered owner of the vehicle(s).
- If there are no responses to the registered mail notice, authorized users must place a notice in a newspaper in the area where the vehicle was left abandoned. The ad can list multiples of such vehicles.
- If Law enforcement notifies the owner(s) and any lienholder by pre-seizure notice, they are not required to complete the AV form nor to make notification by registered mail.
- If the vehicle is still not reclaimed, authorized users may sell the motor vehicle at public auction.
- The buyer of the vehicle is given a sales receipt which is acceptable to:
- apply for title and registration with the department, or
- transfer the vehicle to a demolisher for demolition, wrecking, or dismantling
- The proceeds may be used to recover costs for expenses of this process (the storage, preservation, towing, registered mailing, newspaper ad, and the auction)
- The remainder of the proceeds must be held for forty-five (45) days for the owner or entitled lienholder, and then shall be deposited in the fund to cover expenses of this process.
STEPS FOR GARAGE KEEPERS/MECHANICS:
- Garage keepers/Mechanics are required to follow the same steps as law enforcement or towing firms except they can only verify using the VIR form and there is always a fee for obtaining the information.
- If any estimate or repair has been made, the requester must apply for a Garagekeeper's Lien/Mechanics Lien. This would not fall under the Abandoned Vehicle Law.
- Licensed, Out-of-State Towing companies must file a Vehicle Information Request (VIR) form in order to obtain the current owner and lienholder information.
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