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If vehicle is not collected

Information about when a vehicle can be deemed to have been abandoned if it is not collected.

A motor vehicle that is not collected after an impoundment or immobilisation period ends can be disposed of by following one of these procedures:

Vehicle deemed to be 'abandoned'

If a vehicle is not collected after the period of immobilisation or impoundment ends, the police may sell or dispose of the vehicle and any items that have been left inside, after they take the following steps:

  • if the vehicle has not been collected when it becomes available:
    • within 7 days after it has been impounded or
    • within 3 months after is has been immobilised
  • police may issue a notice to all interested parties saying they intend to deem the vehicle to be abandoned if the vehicle is not collected within 14 days after the date of the notice, and
  • wait 14 days.

The court may also make an order stating that the vehicle is abandoned.

The notice must contain a list of prescribed information and must be properly served on all interested parties according to the Act. The notice can be served by email or other electronic communication if the person nominates this option.

See ss. 84ZQAB, 84ZQAC, 93—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Exception

A notice must not be given before any of the following applications have been decided:

  • if the matter is being appealed by a person whose interests are affected under s. 84O
  • if police have applied for a forfeiture, immobilisation or impoundment order under s. 84U
  • if an application has been made to vary an order by a person whose interests are affected under s. 84ZA.

See s. 84ZQAC(6)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What can be done to stop the vehicle being 'deemed' abandoned?

If someone gets a notice from the police warning that the vehicle will be deemed to have been abandoned, that person can apply to court asking for an order to say that the vehicle has not been abandoned. The person will need to show the court that they genuinely intend to collect the vehicle.

The court will make an order stating that the vehicle is not abandoned if satisfied that the applicant has a genuine intention of collecting the vehicle (or arranging for it to be released). The vehicle must be collected within 2 months of the vehicle first becoming available for release.

The applicant will have to serve a notice on the police before the hearing.

If this order is made the police will need to apply to court for a disposal order under the s. 84ZV.

See s. 84ZQAD—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Forms.

If vehicle remains uncollected for 2 months

Police may dispose of a vehicle that remains uncollected for 2 months after the vehicle has been released or made available for collection. Police must only do this if:

  • all court proceedings that relate to the vehicle have been finalised
  • all interested parties have been given at least 14 days notice of the intention to dispose of vehicle, and
  • all reasonable efforts have been made to return items that have been left in the vehicle.

The notice must contain specific details which are set out in s. 84ZQA.

See ss. 84ZQ, 84ZQA—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Voluntary abandonment by owner

The registered operator of a motor vehicle that has been impounded or immobilised can serve a notice to the Chief Commissioner of police stating that they voluntarily abandon their vehicle. The notice must include information that identifies the vehicle, including the registration number if the vehicle has one.

The police may sell or otherwise dispose of this vehicle 7 days after the notice is sent to the Commissioner.

If the registered operator is not the sole owner of the vehicle, they must also serve a notice of abandonment on any owner of the vehicle.

See s. 84ZQAB(2A)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Police to notify the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

Police must apply to register the vehicle on the Commonwealth Personal Property Securities Register as soon as is practical after they give a notice of their intention to sell, dispose of or deem a motor vehicle to be abandoned.

Police must apply to Register their interest again within 7 days of the vehicle interest being vested in the crown.

See ss. 84ZQB(2), 84ZQC—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Personal property securities register (PPSR)—Searching the PPSR.

What happens to the money?

After the sale of an abandoned or uncollected vehicle, the money from the sale is distributed in the following order:

  1. pay for the costs of the sale (such as auction fees and advertising)
  2. pay cost of immobilisation or impoundment
  3. payment of money owed to a bank, lease arrangement or other financial interest
  4. pay remainder to the registered owner or operator.

If owner can't be found the money is paid to the Crown (state).

See s. 84ZQD—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • part 6A, Div 5—disposal of motor vehicles, items and things
  • s. 84O—right to appeal an order
  • s. 84U—application for an impoundment, immobilisation or forfeiture order
  • s. 84ZA—application to vary an impoundment, immobilisation or forfeiture order
  • s. 84ZQ—disposal of motor vehicles, items and things
  • s. 84ZQA—notice to be given of intention to sell or dispose of a vehicle
  • s. 84ZQAB(2)—sale or disposal of vehicles and items that have deemed to have been abandoned
  • s. 84ZQAC—notice of intention to deem vehicle abandoned
  • s. 84ZQAD—applying for an order stating that vehicle has not been abandoned
  • s. 84ZQB—application to register financing statement after giving notice of intention
  • s. 84ZQD—application of proceeds of sale
  • s. 84ZV—application for a disposal order
  • s. 84ZU—notice of intention to apply
  • s. 84ZQD—how proceeds of sale are applied
  • s. 93—service of notices

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth)

  • s. 73(2)—how priority is decided

See Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Reference

Personal Property Securities Register

This national database is the place where people and organisations (like the police) that have a financial interest in personal property (like a motor vehicle), can record their interest. This warns others who may be thinking of buying that property.

See Personal property securities register (PPSR)—Searching the PPSR(opens in a new window).

Updated