Asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for Florida

Q: Trying to contact owner of abandoned vehicle or begin process of claiming said vehicle if no response.

So I asked this question prior and it was removed so I have no idea why. I found an abandoned vehicle in a parking lot that I frequent. The vehicle is clearly abandoned and it’s down bad. Tags are many years expired, I contacted police and they said it’s not their problem. I’d like to contact the owner and alert them of their abandoned vehicle but I’m also aware that Florida law allows someone to claim an abandoned vehicle. Realistically speaking, the owner must not care about this vehicle, so I doubt they will respond or be easy to find. The issue is that the parking lot is privately owned by a corporation. How can I go about beginning the process of contacting said owner and legally beginning a claim on this abandoned vehicle? Is it even possible with it being “privately owned land”? Any help would be appreciated. I’m just trying to do the right thing and I know if something happened to my vehicle I would want to know. If no response then no reason to let the vehicle sit and rot.

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Since the vehicle is on private land, that landowner possesses the vehicle. The statutory procedures for acquiring title to abandoned property (including vehicles) would help you only if the vehicle were on public land. See Florida Statutes Chapter 705 at:

(You can click on the various statutory sections to read each one. Start with the "definitions" section and see definitions of "abandoned property" and "public property".)

So probably the only options for you being able to acquire ownership of the vehicle are if (A) the landowner gives it to you, or (B) the landowner removes it and puts it on public property (or lets you put in on public property), with you having "first dibs" as the "finder" for the reporting/claim process that starts with Fla. Statutes Section 705.102. If scenario "A" above is a possibility, contact the Fla. Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regarding their process for transferring title.

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