The statute of limitations for automobile repossession in Florida is five years, according to the state's statutes, chapter 95.11. Your car loan contract gives the lender the right to repossess your car as soon as you default and miss a payment. He is not required to give you any notification about the repossession prior to seizure. Call your creditor immediately if you find yourself not being able to make your payment on time; you may be able to work out a payment arrangement or even get a deferment for that month.
Taking the Car
You creditor can seize your car without notice from anywhere you have the car parked or stored. As stated on the website for the Office of the Attorney General of Florida, he is allowed to come onto your property to seize the car with or without your permission. The only thing he cannot do is break into your home, garage or through a locked security gate.
Breach of Peace
Though your creditor can come onto your property to seize the vehicle he cannot commit a breach of peace. This mean he cannot cause physical harm to you or your property or threaten to use force against you to get the car. If he does this, file a complaint with the courts and he may have to pay fines and compensate you for any harm and damage done. This type of wrongful repossession action was upheld in the 1992 case Sammons v. Broward Bank.
After the car is repossessed in Florida, it is usually resold or auctioned off. You are still responsible to pay for the difference in the amount of money you still owed on the car and the amount it sold for. You will also be responsible for any repossession and auction fees. Your creditor can file a lawsuit against you to recover the money lost. The Florida statute of limitations for debts such as car loans is five years, as stated in Florida statute chapter 95.11.
As stated in Florida statute 493.6404, you have the right to get back any personal items left in your car at the time it is repossessed. The creditor must log in all items found in the car when it was seized and cannot keep or sell any of these items. You do not have the right to get back items that have been attached to the car, such as a luggage rack or stereo.
- Office of the Attorney General of Florida: How to Protect Yourself: Automobile Repossession
- Quick Repo: Florida Repossession Laws
- Bills: Florida Statute of Limitations
- 2010 Florida Statutes: Property Inventory; Vehicle License Identification Numbers
- Recovery Specialist Insurance Group: Leading Case Law by State
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images