An individual can register a homemade vehicle or vessel trailer in Florida with their county tax collector. If they bought a homemade trailer weighing under 2,000 lbs. that is registered in the state of Florida, they must provide a bill of sale or the previous owner’s registration. The bill of sale must list the trailer identification number or the trailer’s license plate number.
If a buyer purchases a homemade trailer that weighs 2,000 lbs. or more that is registered in Florida, they must provide the title from the current owner and a bill of sale. An individual should purchase a license plate for a homemade trailer from a county license plate agency. A clerk from the tax collector’s office will give the bill of sale back to the owner after viewing it; they should retain a copy of the bill of sale for at least a year.
Alternative Scenarios for Florida Title Registration
An individual who has purchased a homemade trailer weighing under 2,000 lbs. that the prior owner never registered must provide a bill of sale from the prior owner that states the year the trailer was built and the weight. If the weight is unknown, the prior owner must provide the new owner with a weight slip. The state of Florida’s computer system will then generate a trailer identification number during the trailer registration transaction.
An individual who has bought a homemade trailer that weighs 2,000 lbs. or more that has never been titled in Florida must have a compliance examiner from the tax collector’s office inspect the trailer. The official must assign the object a trailer identification number.
Bill of Sale Requirements
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Form 82050 requires that the applicant provide a great deal of information to describe the trailer. The form asks for the make, year, model, body, color, weight, length, identification number and prior owner’s Florida license plate number.
If a homemade used trailer has not been registered in Florida before, the applicant must provide a certified weight slip unless the documentation submitted shows a net weight. The purchaser must also provide their name, address, the date of sale and the purchase price. The purchaser does not have to provide their driver license.
Title for Out-of-State Trailer
An individual who wants to register a trailer that was previously titled out-of-state must submit a completed an application for a certificate of title to a tax collector’s office or a tag office. The owner will also need to present the out-of-state title certificate in their name or assigned to them and a vehicle identification odometer form, which must be completed by a law enforcement officer, a Florida notary, a Florida Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) compliance examiner, the U.S. military police or a Florida licensed car dealer. Completion of Section 7 of the application for certificate of title fulfills this requirement.
An individual must sign the application. If there are multiple owners, and the individual is completing an application in the tax collector’s office, each person applying for ownership must be present to sign the title application. If an individual’s vehicle is financed, they must complete the lien holder information, including the account number, lien holder name and mailing address.
If an individual is transferring a tag or license plate, they will also need to provide the current registration or plate and decal number. The owner may have to pay Florida use tax if they purchased the trailer less than six months before importing the item to Florida. If the owner has paid sales tax to another state, they will need to present proof of that payment. When the owner registers a trailer that was previously titled out of state, they will need to pay the full 6 percent Florida use tax, as well as any applicable local option tax on all vehicles imported from foreign countries.
Showing Chain of Ownership
A purchaser of any type of trailer, including a homemade trailer, must provide all legal ownership documents that make up the complete chain of ownership. If the trailer has had more than one owner, the current purchaser will need to provide multiple bills of sales for the trailer. For example, say Dominic buys a trailer from Jane. Dominic then sells the trailer to Santos, who sells it to Jack. Jack must submit the following forms to the DMV: Jane’s Florida registration, the bill of sale from Jane to Dominic, the bill of sale from Dominic to Santos, and the bill of sale from Santos to Jack.
After Building a Homemade Trailer
An individual who has built a homemade trailer or assembled a trailer from parts with the completed trailer weighing 2,000 lbs. or more, should contact the Florida Division of Motor Services regional office that serves their area. The regional office will issue a temporary license plate to transport the trailer to be weighed or inspected. If necessary, a division compliance examiner or inspector will assign an FLT number to the trailer. The FLT number must be die-cut, a ¼ inch stamp or welded to the trailer in a permanent and visible location.
The FLT number is usually placed on the tow hitch or near the front portion of the trailer. The number must include the prefix “FLT.” The placement of the FLT identification number on all Assembled from Parts (ASPT) trailers must be inspected by a Division of Motorist Services compliance examiner or inspector. If the trailer identification number is not legible, the Division will not approve the certification.
Definition of a Trailer Under Florida Law
The 2021 Florida Statutes Section 320.01 provides a definition for “trailer.” This statute also classifies trailers into several categories. Generally, a trailer is a vehicle with its own motive power or one that does not move on its own. A trailer is designed to be linked to, or drawn by, a motor vehicle. It is constructed so no part of its weight or load rests upon the towing vehicle.
A utility trailer is generally understood to be a trailer weighing 2,000 lbs. or less. Categories of trailers include: travel trailer to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping or travel use and camping trailer, which is mounted on wheels and provides temporary living quarters for recreation, camping or travel use. There is also a park trailer, which is designed to provide seasonal or temporary living quarters when connected to utilities. In addition, there is a fifth-wheel trailer, designed to be towed by a motorized vehicle that contains a towing mechanism mounted above or forward of the tow vehicle’s rear axle. A fifth-wheel trailer is designed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping or travel use.
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV): Notice of Sale and/or Bill of Sale for a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, Off-Highway Vehicle or Vessel
- Tax Collector for Polk County: Trailer Registrations & Titles
- Tax Collector for Leon County: Trailers 1999 LB Or Less
- Tax Collector for St. Lucie County: Trailers
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Motor Services: Procedure RS-63, Trailers
- 2021 Florida Statutes: Section 320.01, Definitions, General
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.