Getting rid of a car that is not mine & I don't have the title (USA)
February 23, 2020 3:58 PM   Subscribe

'Friend' totaled their car, then left it off-street at my place while insurance things happened. Insurance is now apparently resolved but 'friend' has less-than-zero interest in moving it, or in supplying me with the title. I do have the registration, from the glove box. How can I get rid of it? Thank you!

I see there are "We tow without a title" companies on the Internet. Has anyone used these ... anything I should be aware of? Will also be calling salvage yards; again anything in particular I should be aware of? Pennsylvania, if it helps. - I called DoT and they recommended the owner get a replacement title - which is not going to happen.
posted by carter to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it were me I would send my "friend" a note saying that after date X, storage charges will begin to accrue at a rate of $Y / day, advise them to take action before then and helpfully provide them with a phone number they can call to take care of the matter.

If the car was actually totaled, though, are you sure that the title is in "friend's" name? It's possible the title now belongs to the insurance company.

If I were you I would confine my initial efforts to finding who holds the title and pressuring them to take action. The potential downsides if you act unilaterally are more hassle than they are worth.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:06 PM on February 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

I'd roll/push it out to the curb and let friend know in a simple text I had done so. Why would you want the title? Don't take possession of this albatross!
posted by fritley at 4:21 PM on February 23, 2020 [19 favorites]

On our street when someone abandons a vehicle we call the abandoned vehicles department of our city and they tow it away. I think they ticket the car first to make sure it’s actually abandoned and then they tow it.
posted by andreapandrea at 4:22 PM on February 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

At some point the city will take care of it...ask me how I know. Seriously though, when I was a young 20s I left my car in front of my friend's mother's house while I figured out some insurance stuff and one day it just disappeared. I still feel very guilty about that, it definitely caused work for someone. Your friend needs to be a friend and call a junking service.
posted by stormygrey at 4:26 PM on February 23, 2020

Response by poster: The car is partly wrecked, with parts hanging off, and also is not push-able. It would not be good to leave it on the street I think.
posted by carter at 4:27 PM on February 23, 2020

Response by poster: Also without going into any detail 'friend' is not going to do anything about this (because, reasons ...).
posted by carter at 4:28 PM on February 23, 2020

It would not be good for your friend, but no issue for you. Does not sound like a good friend who won't deal with it. I would not ever take title to this junk. Find out who owns it and pressure them.
posted by AugustWest at 4:29 PM on February 23, 2020

It doesn’t really matter if it would be good to leave it in the street. It just shouldn’t be your problem by sitting in your drive. So your options are to pay somebody to move it, which may be problematic if your friend no longer has the title. Or you get some friends to help you move it into the road where it will become the city’s and your friend’s problem, not yours.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:42 PM on February 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a fact sheet "Disposal of Abandoned Vehicles from Private Property" outlining the actions you can take for disposing of an abandoned vehicle which has been left on your private property. I recommend the first method — ask the police department to declare the vehicle to be abandoned and to require a salvor to take possession of the vehicle (if you can find a sympathetic officer at your local station).
posted by RichardP at 4:48 PM on February 23, 2020 [26 favorites]

We've sold cars for scrap to a local business that will come pick them up and take them away, no title required. We would have been pretty content just to get rid of the cars at no cost to us, but we actually got money for them. You should call a place like that. How much they will pay (or whether they will pay) is likely to change over time, depending on scrap metal prices, but before you spend any money or put any effort into moving it onto the street you should definitely check out that option and see if maybe you can even come out of this a little ahead.
posted by Redstart at 5:12 PM on February 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

You are on notice of the owner of the car (your friend or your friend's insurer) - which makes having it towed off and parted out without legal cover a very bad idea. RichardP's suggestion is a good one.
posted by MattD at 5:44 PM on February 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Maybe its different in PA, but in California as a homeowner you can call the city to tow a car in your driveway. Just say someone parked it there and never came back (it's true! You dont have to say you know them).
posted by ananci at 7:40 PM on February 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Have it towed to your friends house.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:58 PM on February 23, 2020 [10 favorites]

Have a tow company pick it up. They will put it in storage. If not picked up after a period of time they will auction or sell it for scrap. Notify your friend of where it is not being stored.
posted by tman99 at 7:10 AM on February 24, 2020

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