Florida creditors have the legal right to repossess a purchased or leased vehicle when the owner defaults on the correlating loan or lease. However, Florida law allows only licensed agents to repossess these vehicles.
Grounds for Repossession
In Florida, a creditor may repossess a car as soon as the debtor becomes delinquent on his loan. Repossession may be done without intervention of the courts as long as the repossessing agents do not threaten anyone, trespass on private property or damage personal property while collecting the car. Debtors can also voluntarily return the vehicle to the creditor. Doing so may prevent the creditor from charging the debtor additional repossession fees.
Once a creditor has repossessed a vehicle, the creditor has the right to sell the vehicle in a public or private auction to help satisfy the debt owed. However, Florida law requires that creditors give notice to the debtor of the sale date. Debtors can also request their repossessed vehicle be sold at auction. Additionally, if the repossessed vehicle is sold below fair market value, the debtor may have a legal claim against the creditor.
Only individuals and businesses licensed by the state of Florida to repossess vehicles are permitted to repossess cars in Florida. There are three types of repossession licenses in Florida: licenses for businesses dealing with repossession, licenses for managers and executives of businesses that deal with repossessions and licenses for employees who work for businesses dealing with repossession. To be a licensed repossession agent in Florida, you must be at least 18 years of age and have completed a minimum of 40 hours training at a state-licensed school. To have a licenses as a manager, you must be at least 18 years of age and have worked as a repossession agent for at least one year in Florida.