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HUGE WIN FOR THE OHIO TOWING INDUSTRY!

Now Available: BMV 4205 UNCLAIMED MOTOR AFFIDAVIT FOR TOWS ORDERED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, DEALER, OR REPAIR FACILITY

The OTRLC is pleased to report that the Ohio BMV has released BMV Form 4205 – the affidavit that permits Ohio towing and recovery companies and storage facilities to acquire titles to abandoned vehicles ordered into storage by law enforcement, auto dealers or repair facilities. Recall that OTLRC sponsored legislation creating this new title process that was included in Am. Sub. HB 110 (State Operating Budget) earlier this year. The new laws effecting the towing industry took effect on September 30, 2021; however, the language also permitted additional time for the BMV to create the affidavit by the end of the year. The OTRLC worked very hard with the BMV, law enforcement entities and the Clerk of Courts to create this simple and straightforward affidavit and to ensure that all vehicles that meet the requirements of the new law and affidavit are eligible for the process. The new affidavit is now available to the industry.

BMV Form 4205 may be found BMV Forms site at: https://www.bmv.ohio.gov/doc-forms.aspx

Please take notice there are several requirements for the towing industry to utilize this new title process for abandoned police tows. The OTRLC encourages everyone in the industry to review these requirements carefully to ensure the affidavit is used in compliance with the new law. The key requirements are as follows:

Ohio Revised Code Section 4505.104 permits a towing service or storage facility that is in possession of a motor vehicle to obtain a title to the vehicle if all of the following apply:

(1) The motor vehicle was towed or stored pursuant to Ohio Revised Code sections 4513.60 (Vehicle left on private residential or private agricultural property without the permission of person having right to possession of property), section 4513.61 (Storing vehicles in possession of law enforcement officers or left on public property), or section 4513.66 (Removal of highway obstruction) of the Revised Code.

(2) A search was made of the records of the bureau of motor vehicles to ascertain the identity of the owner and any lienholder of the motor vehicle.

(3) Upon obtaining the identity, notice was sent to the last known address of the owner and any lienholder, by certified or express mail with return receipt requested or by a commercial carrier service utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt. The notice shall inform the owner and lienholder that the towing service or storage facility will obtain title to the motor vehicle if not claimed within sixty days after the date the notice was received.

(4) The motor vehicle has been left unclaimed for sixty days after one of the following:

(a) The date the notice was received, as evidenced by a receipt signed by any person;

(b) The date the towing service or storage facility received notification that the delivery of the notice was not possible.

(5) A sheriff, chief of police, or state highway patrol trooper, as applicable, has made a determination that the vehicle or items in the vehicle are not necessary to a criminal investigation.

(6) An agent of the towing service or storage facility executes an affidavit, in a form established by the registrar of motor vehicles – BMV FORM 4205 – affirming that conditions in divisions (A)(1) to (5) of this section are met.

If these conditions are met, the clerk of court shall issue a certificate of title, free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, to the towing service or storage facility that presents an affidavit that affirms that the above conditions are met.

In addition, after obtaining title to a motor vehicle under this section, the towing service or storage facility shall retain any money arising from the disposal of the vehicle. The towing service or storage facility that obtains title to a motor vehicle under this section shall notify the entity that ordered the motor vehicle into storage that the motor vehicle has been so disposed. The towing service or storage facility shall provide the notice on the last business day of the month in which the service or facility obtained title to the motor vehicle.

BMV FORM 4205 for Unclaimed Motor Vehicles Towed From an Auto Dealer or Repair Facility

BMV Form 4205 may also be used to obtain titles to vehicles towed from an auto dealer or repair facility in accordance with newly created Ohio Revised Code sections 4513.602 and 4513.603. This new law permits a motor vehicle dealer or repair facility to cause the removal of the motor vehicle by a towing service. However, there are specific duties and responsibilities of both the auto dealer or repair facility – and the towing company – that must be met in order to maintain compliance with the new laws.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE AUTO DEALER / REPAIR FACILITY

A motor vehicle dealer or repair facility that is in possession of a motor vehicle may cause the removal of the motor vehicle by a towing service if all of the following apply:

(1) A search was made of the records of the bureau of motor vehicles to ascertain the identity of the owner and any lienholder of the motor vehicle.

(2) Upon obtaining the identity under this section, notice was sent to the owner’s and any lienholder’s last known address by certified or express mail with return receipt requested or by a commercial carrier service utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt, and the notice informs the owner and any lienholder of the following:

(a) The address where the motor vehicle is located;

(b) That the motor vehicle dealer or repair facility will cause the vehicle to be towed if not claimed within fourteen calendar days after either the date the notice was received or the date the motor vehicle dealer or repair facility receives notification that delivery was not possible;

(c) That a towing service that removes the motor vehicle or a storage facility that stores the motor vehicle may obtain title to it under section 4513.603 of the Revised Code.

(3) The motor vehicle has been left unclaimed for fourteen days after one of the following:

(a) The date the notice sent, as evidenced by a receipt signed by any person;

(b) The date the motor vehicle dealer or repair facility received notification that the delivery of the notice sent was not possible.

The procedure described above applies regardless of who leaves the motor vehicle on the motor vehicle dealer’s property or the repair facility’s property. In addition, a motor vehicle owner or lienholder’s failure to remove the vehicle from the property within the time period specified in this section constitutes consent to all of the following:

(1) The motor vehicle’s removal and storage;

(2) The payment of any charges incurred for the removal and storage of the motor vehicle;

(3) The right of a towing service that removes the motor vehicle or storage facility that stores the motor vehicle to obtain title to the motor vehicle under section 4513.603 of the Revised Code.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TOWING COMPANY / STORAGE FACILITY

After a motor vehicle has been removed by a towing service, a motor vehicle owner or lienholder may reclaim the motor vehicle from the towing service or storage facility that is in possession of the motor vehicle if all of the following apply:

(1) The owner presents proof of ownership evidenced by a certificate of title to the motor vehicle, a certificate of registration for the motor vehicle, or a lease agreement.

(2) The owner or lienholder makes payment of any charges incurred for the removal and storage of the motor vehicle.

(3) Title to the motor vehicle has not been issued to the towing service or storage facility under section 4513.603 of the Revised Code.

(E) Any towing service that removes a motor vehicle under this section shall not charge a fee greater than those established by the public utilities commission in rules adopted under section 4921.25 of the Revised Code.

These fees are established by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission as follows:

Vehicle being towed is under 10,001 Lbs (GVWR):

Tow                            $129.00

Storage, per day          $17.00

Administrative              $25.00

After hours retrieval   $150.00

Vehicle being towed is equal or greater than 10,001 Lbs (GWR):

Tow                            $216.00

Storage, per day         $29.00

Administrative             $25.00

After hours retrieval  $150.00

It is also important to note that any motor vehicle dealer, repair facility, towing service, or storage facility that complies with this section is not liable for any damage, claim of conversion, or any other claim resulting from the removal, towing, or storage of the motor vehicle.

OBTAINING TITLES TO ABANDONED VEHICLES TOWED FROM AN AUTO DEALER OR REPAIR FACILITY

Ohio Revised Code Section 4513.603 permits a towing service or storage facility that is in possession of a motor vehicle towed from an auto dealer or repair facility to obtain a certificate of title to the motor vehicle, regardless of the motor vehicle’s value, if all of the following apply:

(1) A search was made by the towing service or storage facility of the records of the bureau of motor vehicles to ascertain the identity of the owner and any lienholder of the motor vehicle.

(2) Upon obtaining the identity, the towing service or storage facility sent notice to the owner’s and any lienholder’s last known address, by certified or express mail with return receipt requested or by a commercial carrier service utilizing any form of delivery requiring a signed receipt, that informs the owner and any lienholder that the towing service or storage facility will obtain title to the motor vehicle if not claimed within sixty days after the date the notice was received.

(3) The motor vehicle has been left unclaimed for sixty days after one of the following:

(a) The date the notice was received, as evidenced by a receipt signed by any person;

(b) The date the towing service or storage facility receives notification that the delivery of the notice was not possible.

(4) An agent of the towing service or storage facility executes an affidavit – BMV FORM 4205 -affirming the above conditions are met.

The clerk of court shall issue a certificate of title, free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, to a towing service or storage facility that presents an affidavit that affirms that conditions (1) –

(3) are met. After obtaining title to a motor vehicle under this section, the towing service or storage facility may retain any money arising from the disposal of the vehicle.

The OTRLC is very proud of another tremendous legislative victory for the Ohio towing and recovery industry with the creation of new title processes. Please reach out to APTO or TRAO leadership if we can be of any additional assistance regarding the new laws and we look forward to serving the industry and protecting your business moving forward.

 ERSCA URGENT Update on Federal Legislation

APTO has teamed up with the Emergency Road Service Coalition of America (ERSCA) to represent towers across the nation in Washington, D.C.  A recently proposed amendment to the Federal Infrastructure Bill (HR 3684) could have devastating impact on the towing industry.   The amendment removes a specific federal protection for towers that threatens to impact profitability, liability and the enterprise value of towing and recovery companies in every state.  To donate to the cause please click here.

The amendment to 49 USC 14501 would effectively broaden the scope of what a state is permitted to regulate (i.e. rates, routes, services).  This would allow states to set up rate-regulated regimes for tows that are both consensual and non-consensual.

AMENDMENT LANGUAGE (as printed in the Congressional Record—Senate)
SA 2470. Ms. SINEMA (for herself and Mr. KAINE) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 2137 proposed by Mr. SCHUMER (for Ms. SINEMA (for herself, Mr. PORTMAN, Mr. MANCHIN, Mr. CASSIDY, Mrs. SHAHEEN, Ms. COLLINS, Mr. TESTER, Ms. MURKOWSKI, Mr. WARNER, and Mr. ROMNEY)) to the bill H.R. 3684, to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place in title III of division B, insert the following: SEC. 23lll. FEDERAL AUTHORITY OVER INTRASTATE TRANSPORTATION. Section 14501(c)(2)(C) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘‘performed without the prior consent or authorization of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle’’.
For the towing and recovery industry, this means each individual state may regulate all aspects of the towing industry for any type of towing including price (rate regulations), routes, and services (operations regulations).  While the amendment specifically removes protection against states regulating price, routes and service for non-consensual towing operations (i.e. police towing), no other federal protection will remain.  In essence, states can regulate any and all aspects of towing operations for any and all types of towing.

The threat the industry faces is that organized opponents of the towing industry will pursue new laws and regulations, state-by-state, similar to previous national efforts like “predatory towing”, “consumer protection”, and “price gouging” laws.  In the past, these efforts yielded increased criminal and civil liability, regulated pricing, increased regulations, and never result in favorable outcomes for towing and recovery companies.  Organizations like OOIDA and NCOIL have already created national model legislation with specific emphasis on price regulation for all types of towing including police towing (non-consensual). Without the federal protection currently in place, the industry faces a threat in every state that will impact profitability, liability and the enterprise value of towing and recovery companies.
Take for example the regulatory scheme in Ohio for private property towing.  The elements of the regulation include:

  • Signage requirements
  • Locations requirements of the storage facility (25 miles from the tow, lighting, located near public transportation, etc..)
  • Rate regulation (PUCO now establishes the rate)
  • Allows municipalities to license towing companies
  • Mandatory drop and pay half fee requirement
  • Mandatory photographs and record keeping
  • Time limit to deliver a vehicle to the storage facility
  • Owner/Lienholder notification requirements (police and sheriff assume the responsibility for notifications for non-consensual police tows)
  • Providing vehicles owners notification they can sue towing companies when they retrieve the vehicle
  • Civil actions against towing companies, included removal of CPCN
These are all examples of the types of laws, rules and regulations that could be applied to non-consensual towing if the amendment is passed.  OOIDA and NCOIL have both stated that price regulation is a top priority.  The proposed amendment will give them the ability to pursue “price gouging” and “predatory towing” laws in each state.

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APTO is an association for Ohio towing and recovery professionals dedicated to furthering safety and professionalism in the Ohio Towing Industry. We pride ourselves on being the strongest, largest, and most respected Towing & Recovery Industry trade association in the State of Ohio.

Leadership & OTRLC

Leadership & OTRLC

Shumaker, Loop, & Kendrick

Regulatory Legal Counsel

Andy Herf & Joe Hollabaugh

Lobbyists, Shumaker Advisors

APTO Board

Executive Board

Currently Accepting New Members!

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