How to File for an Abandoned Vehicle in Florida

by Steve Smith
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An abandoned vehicle may be claimed by any person in Florida if they follow a set procedure. Most abandoned vehicles are left somewhere because owners no longer want them, the vehicles are in disrepair or the owner no longer needs the car. Most abandoned cars require extensive repair. For salvage yard owners, or for someone who enjoys restoring cars, claiming one may be a chance to gain an extra vehicle.

Step 1

Notify the police department in the county or town where you found the abandoned the vehicle. The police will determine if the car is parked illegally and if so, they will place a notice on the vehicle. If it is not claimed after 24 hours, the vehicle will then be removed and stored. After this occurs, you may obtain a lost property claim form from the police department and complete it. If the vehicle is on public property unlawfully it will be subject to removal.

Step 2

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles and ask for a title search and contact information for the vehicle. Use the license plate number (if available) or the vehicle identification number (VIN) found on the dashboard or door frame as a reference for the DMV. Obtain the address and name of the present owner.

Step 3

Send a letter by certified mail to the owner of the vehicle with a return of receipt request. Wait to hear back from the original owner of the vehicle. Make an effort to locate the owner of the vehicle because the address may not be current or could be incorrect. Look in the local white pages for the owner's phone number. In addition, contact the police in surrounding towns to see if anyone has filed a stolen vehicle report for that particular vehicle.

Step 4

Publish a notice in the local newspaper that a lost vehicle has been found and that you are seeking the owner. Include the make, model, color and VIN number or plate tags.

Step 5

Apply for a new finder's title through the DMV if the owner does not claim the vehicle in 90 days. Give the DMV the VIN number, vehicle make and model. A new title for the vehicle will be issued to you for the vehicle in about two weeks.

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