Thousands of vehicles are sold in Florida every year. As a seller, there are certain things you should know before selling a vehicle, including the process to transfer the title. Most importantly you will want to protect yourself by completing a Notice of Sale, which removes your name from the vehicle so you are no longer liable for the vehicle you sold. As of July 2009, Florida law requires all sellers to file a Notice of Sale.
Selling a vehicle in a private sale can be beneficial for both the buyer and seller. Be certain that the process is completed properly by understanding the seller’s rights and responsibilities.
Before the Sale
If the seller has purchased a new vehicle and transferred the license plate, the seller must apply for a demonstration only temporary tag to allow potential buyers to test drive the vehicle. Proof of insurance is required in order to be issued a temporary tag.
Additionally, for a sale to be legal in Florida, the seller must transfer the title to the buyer. If the title was paper, and it has been lost or misplaced, the seller must apply for a duplicate title before selling the vehicle. To obtain a duplicate title, the seller must complete form HSMV 82101 and submit with the duplicate title fee to a motor vehicle service center. Expedited service is available in some locations. For counties offering “fast title” expedited service, a $10 fee will apply in addition to the standard title fees.
If the title is held electronically, the seller and buyer must visit a motor vehicle service center to complete a secure title reassignment (HSMV 82994 or 82092) and disclose the odometer reading. The buyer and seller must both be present and provide photo identification.
Advertising the Vehicle
Florida law prohibits the parking of any vehicle on public right of ways or on private property for the purpose of sale without the permission of the property owner. This is generally referred to as “curbstoning.” Additionally, Florida law presumes any person, firm, partnership or corporation that buys, sells, offers for sale, displays for sale or deals in three or more motor vehicles in any 12-month period to be a motor vehicle dealer and must have an appropriate license issued by the state.
Selling a Vehicle with an Existing Lien
In Florida, a vehicle cannot be legally sold in a private sale if there is an existing lien. For the vehicle to be legally sold, the lien must first be satisfied. Once the lienholder reports to FLHSMV that the lien has been satisfied, the title can be transferred.
Consumers can trade in a vehicle with an existing lien at a dealership. The dealer will have 10 days to satisfy the lien prior to selling it to another customer. It is not necessary to request a paper title prior to trading a vehicle with a licensed Florida dealer.
If the vehicle was not titled previously in Florida, the seller must complete a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification. The form requires verification by the owner and one of the following:
- Florida FLHSMV compliance examiner/officer;
- Licensed Florida motor vehicle dealer;
- Florida notary public; or
- Law enforcement officer.
Completing the Sale
FLHSMV encourages sellers complete the sales transaction in a motor vehicle service center to properly transfer the vehicle title. This protects both the seller, who knows that title has been transferred out of their name, and the buyer by ensuring the seller has provided them with the proper ownership documents.
The seller must complete the Transfer of Title by Seller section on the front of the title certificate including, the name and address of the buyer, the odometer information, selling price and the date sold. The buyer must complete an Application for Certificate of Title with/without Registration form, attach it to the title and submit to a motor vehicle service center to transfer the title into their name. This must be done within 30 calendar days to avoid a late transfer penalty fee.
Recording the Mileage
Space for the odometer disclosure reading is included on Florida titles. The odometer reading at the time of purchase will be required on the title application. Both the buyer and seller must acknowledge odometer disclosures on title transactions.
Protect Yourself by Filing Form HSMV 82050
Florida law requires sellers to file form HSMV 82050. Filing this form with a motor vehicle service center will remove the seller’s registration from the vehicle and help the seller avoid any civil liability for the operation of the motor vehicle after the sale. Once filed, it becomes the buyers’s responsibility to apply for the title and registration before he/she can legally operate the motor vehicle. If the buyer fails to do this, and the seller does NOT file form HSMV 82050, the seller can be held liable for actions associated with the motor vehicle, even if they no longer own the vehicle. The form also documents the sale and is the legal receipt. Keep copies of the bill of sale (FLHSMV recommends having it notarized), certificate of title or other type of transaction document showing it was sold.
Removing the Plates
In a sale, license plates stay with seller not the vehicle. When motor vehicles are sold, the seller must remove the license plate from the vehicle and may then transfer the plate to a new or replacement vehicle. The seller must surrender the tag to a motor vehicle service center if:
- The seller is moving to another state; or
- The seller cancels insurance on the vehicle associated with the plate.
- Apply for a demonstration only temporary tag, if needed;
- Conduct a VIN inspection, if necessary;
- Record odometer reading on title;
- Complete title transfer in a motor vehicle service center;
- Remove license plate from the sold vehicle;
- Surrender the license plate, if applicable; and
- File a Notice of Sale, form HSMV 82050.