How to Claim an Abandoned Vehicle in Florida

By George Lawrence
Title, property vests, the finder, the true owner

yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from

When you travel along the same route day after day, you notice things that are out of place or out of the ordinary. Imagine that you travel along the same Florida highway and that for the last five days you have seen the same vehicle sitting on the side of the road. You car is in bad shape; the car on the side of the road looks fine. Perhaps it is abandoned. If so, as the finder of the abandoned property, you may be able to claim title to it.

Report the vehicle to your local Florida police department.

Publish a notice that you found the property in a newspaper that is regularly published and circulated in the county where you found the vehicle.

Make reasonable efforts to find the true owner. In addition to publishing notice of the find in your local newspaper, do your best to try and find the true owner. The law requires that reasonable efforts be made to find the true owner; ask the DMV to provide you with license and registration information about the vehicle and see if you can find an address for the true owner.

Wait 90 days. Florida law states that after 90 days, if the true owner does not claim the found/abandoned property, then the title vests in the finder (you). Visit the police station and declare that you are asserting ownership over the vehicle. Note that you may be required to pay the costs of storage and handling from the police department (see References 1).

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.