Middletown, MD asked in Bankruptcy and Consumer Law for Maryland

Q: I filed a Chapter 7 bk in 20'. Bank never picked up, sold home now some stranger harassing me for it. Could I buy title?

Car needed approx 5k in repairs. The BK lawyer advised Chase they could come and get. Bank never came, 6 months later house was sold, we had to move. Chase never picked up car after they were advised to do so twice. I still had a title and my taks and insurance on it, so I couldn't leave auto on new owners property, I took it with me and paid $4500 twice now for maintenance and repairs. It's a 2010 MB E550 probably only worth 5k wholesale. I tow man came to the house, but my car was in the garage and he showed me no paperwork. I told to leave, he wouldn't. I closed the curtains and 45 minutes later he left. I would call Chase and see if they would sell me the title now (lien release) and offer to give them a few thousand, but I'm not sure they didn't sell the rights to it to a debt collector. Any suggestion? Thanks very much! Kind regards, Nate

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1 Lawyer Answer
Daniel Staeven
Daniel Staeven
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Annapolis, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: There is some good news and bad news in this situation.

If you never paid the remaining balance due on the car, you do not own the car and the lien on the car remains with the lender. The good news, however, is that you are not responsible for any of the debt associated with the car purchase.

The problem here is that you are holding onto a car that you didn't pay for after your case. Furthermore, you have put money into maintaining the car since the bankruptcy case. Frankly, the money you put into the car is simply lost or can be viewed as a cost of using the car since your bankruptcy discharge in 2020.

The party attempting to retrieve the car is probably someone who bought the lien at a discount from your lender for the car. Truly, the car belongs to that party as they are the successor to the original lienholder. You may be able to negotiate with them about buying the car from them for the lien release. After all, the purchaser of the lien probably only put out 20-30% of what was owed to purchase its new interest in the car. If those numbers don't work out for you, you will have to turn the car over to this party.

I don't think you want to truly let this matter go to court as you will, likely, be sued for these costs that are occurring after your bankruptcy was discharged and you are liable for now.

Good luck in your future endeavors.

Timothy Denison agrees with this answer

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