So what exactly constitutes an abandoned vehicle in South Carolina? The criteria are quite specific:
- A vehicle left unwatched on a highway for over 48 hours.
- A vehicle left on any property, be it private or public, for over seven days without the property owner's permission.
- Cars left at shops post-repair completion or post-storage contract expiration, retained for more than thirty days after the owner or lien holder receives a written notice.
Upon receiving a request about an abandoned vehicle, the SCDMV provides an Abandoned Vehicle Report for vehicles registered in South Carolina. If the vehicle is not registered in the state, the SCDMV issue information about the probable state of registration.
Once the necessary information is retrieved from the SCDMV and due notices are sent to the concerned parties, an authorized entity can appeal to the magistrate to organize a public sale. This is where the transformation of the vehicle's title status takes place. The vehicle's purchaser at the auction obtains a title that's free and clear of all previous liens and claims of ownership, allowing them a clean slate. They will need a magistrate's order of sale that can be used to apply for a new title. The expenses of the auction and all related costs are first deducted from the auction sale price. Any remaining amount is held for the vehicle's owner or lienholder for ninety days. This not only provides a resolution for the abandoned vehicle report but also offers potential buyers a unique opportunity to acquire vehicles free from past obligations.
While the journey to claiming ownership of an abandoned vehicle and titling it might seem layered with bureaucracy, understanding and abiding by the set processes ensures compliance with the SC abandoned motor vehicle laws. Potential buyers should remain vigilant and informed, seeing the auction as an avenue to acquire vehicles with a clear title. Always consider consulting a legal expert familiar with unclaimed cars and related legislation in South Carolina to guide you further.