Landlord Rights and Abandoned Vehicles

Landlord Rights and Abandoned Vehicles

There are rules in place for those New Jersey landlord tenant situations in which a tenant abandons personal property upon vacating the rental unit. The process for disposing of this abandoned property is fairly straightforward. This process, however, does not apply to abandoned vehicles.

Abandoned Vehicle: Ticketed and Towed

If one of your tenants has abandoned a vehicle on your rental property, the police may be willing to intercede. If so, after you request that the vehicle be ticketed and towed, the vehicle’s owner becomes responsible for the fees associated with towing and storage – along with other possible legal penalties outlined in Senate Bill 1173.

Declaring a Vehicle Abandoned

If the police won’t get involved, you’ll need to apply to have the vehicle declared abandoned by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Service. The application process is elaborate and must include several elements:

  • A lien search application, which requires a fee;
  • A notarized statement that outlines the steps you’ve taken to obtain authority to sell the vehicle and that delineates the vehicle’s make, model, year, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN);
  • An affidavit of your newspaper-published intent to claim the abandoned car – proof of mailing this publication to the local police department must also be included;
  • Photographs of the vehicle;
  • Motor Vehicle Services Form Abandoned Vehicle 90-Day Notice (OS/SS-139), which outlines your intention to sell the abandoned vehicle if it’s not claimed within 90 days; and
  • Motor Vehicle Services Form Abandoned Vehicle 5-Day Notice (OS-SS-140), which outlines your intention to sell the abandoned vehicle at auction (date, time, and location included) to the vehicle’s owner (and lender) and which must be sent via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

If you intend to donate the vehicle to the towing company involved, you must also include Motor Vehicle Services form SS-58.

It’s a lot. New Jersey does provide the necessary forms and useful checklists to help you with the process. A skilled attorney with experience in landlord tenant law can help you navigate this property nuisance with expediency and confidence.

If You Have Landlord Tenant Concerns, Contact an Experienced Landlord Tenant Attorney

If you’re stuck with a vehicle that’s been abandoned by a former tenant, a landlord tenant lawyer will efficiently guide you past the headache and through the laborious process of divesting yourself of the vehicle. Landlord tenant law is complicated; contact or call John L. Schettino law today at (201) 498-9768 for more information regarding your rights as a landlord.