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Introduced Version House Bill 2279 History

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hb2279 intr
H. B. 2279


          (By Delegates Azinger and D. Poling)
          [Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business.]



A BILL to amend and reenact §17-24A-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to towing companies notifying the Division of Motor Vehicles of abandoned vehicles that have been towed and levying a penalty against the owner of the abandoned vehicle if the fees for towing are not paid in full.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
     That §17-24A-4 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 24A. DISPOSAL OF ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES, JUNKED MOTOR VEHICLES, AND ABANDONED OR INOPERATIVE HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES.
§17-24A-4. Abandoned or junked motor vehicles; notification to motor vehicle owner and lienholder; charges and fees; exceptions.
     (a) The enforcement agency which takes into custody and possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle shall, within fifteen days after taking custody and possession thereof, notify the last-known registered owner of the motor vehicle and all lienholders of record that the motor vehicle has been taken into custody and possession, the notification to be by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall:
     (1) Contain a description of the motor vehicle, including the year, make, model, manufacturer's serial or identification number or any other number which may have been assigned to the motor vehicle by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and any distinguishing marks;
     (2) Set forth the location of the facility where the motor vehicle is being held and the location where the motor vehicle was taken into custody and possession;
     (3) Inform the owner and any lienholders of record of their right to reclaim the motor vehicle within ten days after the date notice was received by the owner or lienholders, upon payment of all towing, preservation and storage charges resulting from taking and placing the motor vehicle into custody and possession; and
     (4) State that the failure of the owner or lienholders of record to exercise their right to reclaim the motor vehicle within the ten-day period shall be deemed a waiver by the owner and all lienholders of record of all right, title and interest in the motor vehicle and of their consent to the sale or disposal of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle at a public auction or to a licensed salvage yard or demolisher.
     (b) If the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address for the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and addresses of all lienholders, notice shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, the publication area shall be the county wherein the motor vehicle was located at the time the enforcement agency took custody and possession thereof and the notice shall be sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this article. Any notice by publication may contain multiple listings of abandoned motor vehicles and junked motor vehicles. The notice shall be published within fifteen days after the motor vehicle is taken into custody and possession and shall have the same contents required for a notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, except that the ten-day period shall run from the date the notice is published as aforesaid.
     (c) An enforcement agency which hires any person or entity to take into custody and possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle pursuant to this section shall notify the person or entity hired of the name and address of the registered owner of the motor vehicle, if known, and all lienholders of record, if any, within fifteen days after the vehicle is taken into custody and possession: Provided, That the requirements of this subsection shall not apply to motor vehicles for which the registered owner cannot be ascertained by due diligence or investigation.
     (d) The person or entity hired by an enforcement agency to take into custody or possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle shall, within thirty days after the possession, notify the registered owner of the vehicle and all lienholders of record, if any, as identified by the enforcement agency pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, by registered mail, return receipt requested, that the motor vehicle has been taken into custody and possession. The notice shall have the same contents required for a notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, including the ten-day period the owner or lienholder has to reclaim the motor vehicle. Upon the issuance of the notice, the identified owner of the motor vehicle is liable and responsible for all costs for towing, preservation and storage of the motor vehicle: Provided, That failure to issue the notice required by this subsection within thirty days after possession of the motor vehicle relieves the identified owner of the motor vehicle of any liability for charges for towing, preservation and storage in excess of the sum of the first five days of the charges: Provided, however, That the requirements of this subsection do not apply to motor vehicles for which the registered owner thereof cannot be ascertained by due diligence or investigation.
     (e) For an abandoned motor vehicle or junked vehicle having a loan value of $2,500 or less, as ascertained by values placed upon motor vehicles using a standard industry reference book, a person or entity hired by an enforcement agency to tow the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle may, if the motor vehicle is not claimed by the owner or a lienholder after notice within the time set forth in subsection (d) of this section or if the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address of the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders after publication as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, file an application with the Division of Motor Vehicles for a certificate of title and registration which, upon payment of the appropriate fees, shall be issued. The person or entity may then sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction.
     (f) For an abandoned motor or junked motor vehicle having a loan value of $2,500 or less, as ascertained by values placed upon motor vehicles using a standard industry reference book, a licensed motor vehicle dealer, as defined in section one, article one, chapter seventeen-a of this code, or a motor vehicle repair facility may, if a motor vehicle is abandoned on the property or place of business of the dealer or a motor vehicle repair facility and is not claimed by the owner or a lienholder after notice within the time set forth in subsection (d) of this section or if the identity of the last registered owner of the abandoned motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address of the owner or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders after publication as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, file an application with the Division of Motor Vehicles for a certificate of title and registration which, upon payment of the appropriate fees, shall be issued. The dealer or motor vehicle repair facility may then sell the motor vehicle at private sale or public auction.
     (g) If any person or entity hired by an enforcement agency to take into custody or possession an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle pursuant to this article is not paid the towing, recovery, storage, and/or other charges due to such person or entity on account of having taken such vehicle into custody or possession, the person or entity owed such charges may report the name, address and any other information needed to identify the owner of such vehicle to the Division of Motor Vehicles, which shall not issue or renew any drivers license or vehicle registration of any class to such owner unless and until such charges are paid in full.


          
     NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow towing companies to notify the DMV of abandoned vehicles that have been towed and for the DMV to levy a penalty against the owner of the abandoned vehicle if the fees for towing are not paid in full.

     Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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