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MikeM
MikeM, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience:  Over 20 years experience. I only answer questions concerning NY law.
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In New York State, is a auto repo agent entitled to trespass

Customer Question

In New York State, is a auto repo agent entitled to trespass upon private property to repossess a vehicle?   Is he authorized to move/tow another carif parked in a driveway behind the car to be repossessed?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  MikeM replied 5 years ago.

I researched this issue. There are no cases on point. Therefore, I will speculate an answer.

 

A company is entitled to repossess a vehicle when there is a valid lien on the vehicle. Failure to make payment under the note is a condition to retake the car.

 

Under the law a company may self help to foreclose on a lien, so long as notice is given to the lien holder subsequent to the taking of the vehicle and prior to the sale. The reason for the law is that if notice is given prior to taking the automobile, it would be impossible enforce the lien (take the car).

 

Self-help must be done peaceably. A company cannot smash a garage door down to take a car. However, there is nothing wrong to go on private property to remove a vehicle. Also, to tow another vehicle to obtain the liened car is acceptable so long as the car that is moved is not damaged.

 

If the car that is moved is damaged, you may have a claim against the towing company under a negligence theory.

 

Mike.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I understand your reply, however, I don't see how the lienholder has the legal authority to enter upon secured (gated) private property.

 

Additionally, if the owner of the 2nd vehicle is present, and refuses access to the lienholder to tow his/her car so as retake the target vehicle, how is that a peaceful process?

 

Expert:  MikeM replied 5 years ago.

If the gate is locked and the lien holder breaks the gate, that is not peaceful. If the owner of the 2nd vehicle is present and refuses consent to move the automobile and the lien holder forcibly moves the vehicle, that is also not peaceful.

 

I hoped I answered your question.

 

Mike.

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