Bill S4479-2015

Relates to repossession of motor vehicle or motorcycle

Relates to repossession of motor vehicle or motorcycle.



  • Jun 16, 2015: referred to transportation
  • Jun 16, 2015: PASSED SENATE
  • Jun 16, 2015: ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1616




TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to repossession of motor vehicle or motorcycle

PURPOSE: To remove a bureaucratic obstacle and simplify the ability of a motor vehicle owner to redeem a motor vehicle or motorcycle which has been repossessed.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill amends Section 425(1) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to change the time frame in which the repossessor of a motor vehicle must submit the license plates to DMV. It also provides an additional option for notifying the affected vehicle owner.

EXISTING LAW: Under current law, a repossessor must immediately notify the local police agency. It must also, within 24 hours, personally deliver or mail to the nearest motor vehicle district office a notice of the repossession along with the license plates.

Notice must also be given to the vehicle owner within 24 hours either personally or by registered or certified mail.


Section 425 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law was enacted in 1957 to ensure that the police were immediately notified when a motor vehicle was repossessed. The problem was that police agencies were receiving reports of stolen vehicles, and then issuing alerts and initiating investigations, only to later discover that the vehicle was not stolen but had been legally repossessed. The 1957 law addressed this problem by requiring the repossessor to notify the police and give them the vehicle's license plates. The law was subsequently amended to require that the license plates be sent directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

However, this law has presented problems for affected motorists. Under existing law, the debtor is afforded a reasonable period of time generally presumed to be a 10 day window -- in which to redeem the vehicle. However, the owner is faced with an additional bureaucratic burden and costs because the vehicle no longer has its license plates. As a result, the vehicle owner must first arrange for transportation to a DMV office (which may involve paying for a cab or public transportation). Then, in most cases, the returned plates have not yet been processed and therefore the vehicle owner must pay to reregister the vehicle and get new plates issued.

It would be more convenient and efficient for all parties involved to delay the submission of the license plates until after the redemption period has expired. This would eliminate an unnecessary and costly burden on the motorist. It would also make the process more efficient for DMV, since they would only have to process those returned plates for vehicles which are being removed from the system.

The bill would also allow the repossessor to notify the vehicle owner by a combination of first class mail and either a phone call, e-mail or text message. Current law requires notification to be made personally or by registered or certified mail. However, in practice,

there can be delays in receiving registered or certified mail if no one is home at the time to sign for the delivery. Many lenders already communicate electronically with their borrowers, and this bill gives them an additional option that would enable them to more quickly contact the debtor while also ensuring that the debtor still receives written notice via first class mail.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal to the State. This change should make the process more efficient for DMV. This should result in a decrease in the number of persons needing to reregister a repossessed vehicle; however, the small loss of revenue would generally be offset by the savings in not having to process and issue new plates.



STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4479 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 23, 2015 ___________
Introduced by Sen. FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to repossession of motor vehicle or motorcycle THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 425 of the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter 81 of the laws of 1968, is amended to read as follows: 1. Any person, firm or corporation, or agent, employee or represen- tative thereof, repossessing or retaking a motor vehicle or motorcycle pursuant to the provisions of article nine of the uniform commercial code, or other authority of law, or any contract or agreement, shall, immediately following such repossession or retaking, personally appear at a station house or other office of the police department, or agency or officer performing like functions, in the locality wherein such repossession or retaking occurred, give notice to such department, agen- cy or officer of such repossession or retaking and thereafter and within [twenty-four hours] TEN DAYS personally deliver or mail by [special delivery] first class mail to the nearest motor vehicle [district] office, (a) notice of such repossession or retaking in such form as the commissioner may require and (b) the number plates of such motor vehicle or motorcycle. Notice of such repossession or retaking, including the name and address of the person, firm or corporation repossessing or retaking the same, shall also be given within twenty-four hours thereof to the owner of such motor vehicle or motorcycle, either personally or by registered or certified mail directed to such owner at his last-known address OR BY PHONE, E-MAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE PROVIDED THAT NOTICE IS ALSO GIVEN BY FIRST CLASS MAIL. Unless the motor vehicle or motorcycle can be repossessed or retaken without breach of the peace, it shall be repossessed or retaken by legal process, but nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize a violation of the criminal law. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.


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