Bill Drafting TemplateVersion XP 1.0Converted to Office XP      HB1694
           02-10-2005 17:31 KLL102

Stricken language would be deleted from and underlined language would be added to the law as it existed prior to this session of the General Assembly.


      02-10-2005 17:31 KLL102
State of Arkansas          
85th General Assembly     A Bill     
Regular Session, 2005            1694




For An Act To Be Entitled


AN ACT TO PERMIT THE TEMPORARY USE OF ABANDONED VEHICLES BY MUNICIPALITIES; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Subtitle


AN ACT TO PERMIT THE TEMPORARY USE OF
ABANDONED VEHICLES BY MUNICIPALITIES.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS:

      SECTION . Arkansas Code is amended to read as follows:
      27-50-1101. Procedure to sell abandoned vehicles.
      (a)(1)(A) When any vehicles of a type subject to registration under the laws of this state are found abandoned on private or public property within this state, the property owners or their agents may have the vehicle removed from their property by a towing and storage firm. For purposes of this section:
           (1) "Abandoned" means the state of:
                 (A) Being unattended by the owner who has overtly manifested some intention to not retake possession;
                 (B) Remaining unattended, whether in the location first found or in another location that the vehicle has been removed to pursuant to this subchapter, for a period of thirty (30) days, during which the owner has given no evidence of an intent to retake possession;
                 (C) Having been left for repairs at a vehicle repair business by the vehicle owner and left unclaimed for forty-five (45) days from the time that the repair work is complete or
                 (D) Having been left for repairs at a vehicle repair business by the vehicle owner who has failed to pay for repair work performed by the vehicle repair business for forty-five (45) days from the time that the repair work is complete
           (2) "Holder" means the person who possesses a vehicle as a result of the vehicle's abandoned status; and
           (3) "Person" means any natural person, business, company, corporation, municipality, county, or state agency.
     (b)(1) When any vehicle of a type subject to registration under the laws of this state is found abandoned on private or public property within this state, the property owner or his or her agent may have the vehicle removed from the property by a towing and storage firm.
                 (B) Vehicles on the premises of an automobile repair business shall be deemed abandoned if either the vehicle is unclaimed by the vehicle owner within forty-five (45) days or the debt is not paid within forty-five (45) days from the time the repair work is complete.
            (2)(A) The towing and storage firm which takes possession of and stores the abandoned vehicle shall notify the local police or sheriff's department of the removal within six (6) hours of taking possession of the vehicle.
                 (B) The towing and storage firm may not charge a storage fee for the vehicle for the time it is stored prior to the notification.
            (3) Not later than the tenth day after taking possession of and storing the vehicle or its being deemed abandoned, the towing and storage firm which takes possession of and stores the abandoned vehicle or the automobile repair business upon whose premises the vehicle has been deemed abandoned shall notify by certified mail with return receipt requested the last known registered owner of the vehicle and all lienholders of record pursuant to 27-14-101 et seq. that the vehicle is being held, and unless claimed within forty-five (45) days will be dismantled, destroyed, or sold at public sale to the highest bidder. The name of the last known registered owner of the vehicle and all lienholders of record may be obtained from the records of the Office of Motor Vehicle, the Arkansas Crime Information Center records, or the motor vehicle records of any other state where the vehicle was last registered. Nothing in this section shall preclude the owner or his or her authorized agent from making alternative arrangements with the towing and storage firm within the ten-day time period and waiving, in writing, his or her right to the required notice.
                 (A) The notice shall describe the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the abandoned vehicle, set forth the name, address, and telephone number of the facility where the vehicle is being held, and inform the owner and any lienholders of their right to reclaim the vehicle not later than the forty-fifth day after the date of the notice upon payment of all towing and storage charges resulting from placing the vehicle in the custody of the towing and storage firm or upon payment of all outstanding bills due the automobile repair business. Notices to owners of vehicles deemed abandoned on the premises of automobile repair facilities shall also advise that the auto repairman holds an absolute lien on the vehicle pursuant to 18-45-201 et seq.
                 (B) The notice shall also state that the failure of the owners or lienholders to exercise their right to reclaim the vehicle within the time provided constitutes a waiver by the owners and lienholders of all right, title, and interest in the vehicle and constitutes their consent to the sale, dismantling, or destruction of the abandoned vehicle and that the towing and storage firm claims a possessory lien for all charges pursuant to 27-50-1208.
                 (C) If the identity of the last registered owner cannot be determined, if the registration contains no address for the owner, or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of each lienholder, notice by publication one (1) time in one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the area where the vehicle was abandoned is sufficient notice under this section.
                  (D) The notice by publication may contain multiple listings of abandoned vehicles, shall be published within the time requirements prescribed for notice by certified mail, and shall have the same contents required for a notice by certified mail.
            (4)(A) Forty-five (45) days after the notice has been given as described, the holder of the vehicle or the owner or operator of the automobile repair business on whose premises the vehicle was abandoned shall execute an affidavit stating that the vehicle has been found abandoned and is stored with the holder and that notice has been given, as provided in this section, to the registered owners and all lienholders of record.
                 (B) The affidavit shall describe the vehicle by make, year, model, and vehicle identification number.
            (5) The towing and storage firm or the owner or operator of the automobile repair business shall obtain written verification that the Arkansas Crime Information Center records do not list the vehicle as having been reported stolen. The verification shall be on a form prescribed by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, a municipal police department, a county sheriff's department, or the Department of Arkansas State Police. Upon receipt of the form, the holder shall then sell the vehicle at public sale to the highest bidder.
            (6) The towing and storage firm or automobile repair business shall supply the buyer with the necessary documentation required in this section for the sale of the vehicle, and the buyer shall then apply to the nearest revenue office for the title of the vehicle, submitting the affidavit and documentation and paying all license fees, title fees, and taxes required by law.
           (7) If the sale of the vehicle produces more funds than the sum of all charges, including the costs of the sale and including a reasonable charge for processing the paperwork, then after forty-five (45) days from the date of the sale if no claim has been made by any owner or lienholder for the balance of the proceeds, the balance of the proceeds of the sale shall go to the Treasurer of State for deposit in the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund, accompanied by a written statement itemizing the various deductions from the gross sales price of the vehicle signed by the selling party.
     (b)(c) If the person who has custody of an abandoned vehicle fails to comply with the notice requirement of subsection (a)(b) of this section within ten (10) days of the date the vehicle is obtained or deemed abandoned, the amount recoverable for storage shall be forfeited.
     (c)(d) Upon presentation of documentation to the office establishing compliance with the sale procedure in this section protecting the rights of the owner or lienholder, the purchaser of the vehicle shall be entitled to receive a new title to the vehicle upon meeting other applicable administrative requirements of the title and registration laws.
     (e) If the holder of the vehicle is a municipality, upon compliance with the notice provisions of this section and after the expiration of forty-five (45) days as required by subsection (b) of this section, the municipality may defer the public sale and make use of the vehicle for law enforcement purposes, but only upon the enactment of a local ordinance that:
           (1) Declares the municipality's policy regarding the deferral for law enforcement purposes;
           (2) Charges a specific municipal official with the responsibilities of identifying the vehicles to be used by the municipality and declaring a future date to publicly sell the vehicle pursuant to this section provided that the date of the sale shall be a maximum of six (6) months from the passage of the forty-five (45) days required by this section or as soon as is practicable if circumstances arise that prevent the sale on the declared sale date; and
           (3) Requires that the official ensure that the public sale proceed on the sale date declared in the ordinance.