4505.101 Certificate of title to unclaimed motor vehicle.

(A) The owner of any repair garage or place of storage in which a motor vehicle with a value of less than two thousand five hundred dollars has been left unclaimed for fifteen days or more following completion of the requested repair or the agreed term of storage may send by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address of the owner a notice to remove the motor vehicle. If the motor vehicle remains unclaimed by the owner for fifteen days after the mailing of the notice, and the person on whose property the vehicle has been abandoned has received the signed receipt from the certified mail or has been notified that the delivery was not possible, the person shall obtain a certificate of title to the motor vehicle in the person's name in the manner provided in this section.

The owner of the repair garage or place of storage that mailed the notice shall execute an affidavit that all of the requirements of this section necessary to authorize the issuance of a certificate of title for the motor vehicle have been met. The affidavit shall set forth the value of the motor vehicle when unclaimed as determined in accordance with standards fixed by the registrar of motor vehicles; the length of time that the motor vehicle has remained unclaimed; the expenses incurred with the motor vehicle; that a notice to remove the vehicle has been mailed to the titled owner, if known, by certified mail, return receipt requested; and that a search of the records of the bureau of motor vehicles has been made for outstanding liens on the motor vehicle.

No affidavit shall be executed or filed under this section until after a search of the records of the bureau of motor vehicles has been made. If the research reveals any outstanding lien on the motor vehicle, the owner of the repair garage or place of storage of the motor vehicle shall notify the mortgagee or lienholder by certified mail, return receipt requested, stating where the motor vehicle is located and the value of the vehicle. Unless the mortgagee or lienholder claims the motor vehicle within fifteen days from the mailing of the notice, the mortgagee's mortgage or the lienholder's lien shall be invalid.

Upon presentation by the owner of the repair garage or place of storage of the affidavit, showing compliance with all requirements of this section to the clerk of courts of the county in which the repair garage or place of storage is located, the clerk of courts shall issue a certificate of title, free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, to the owner of the place of storage.

The value of the motor vehicle, as determined in accordance with standards fixed by the registrar of motor vehicles, less expenses incurred by the owner of such repair garage or place of storage, shall be paid to the clerk of courts for deposit into the county general fund upon receipt of the certificate of title.

(B) Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars, imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004