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MISSOURI STATUTES AND CODES

304.156. Notice to towing company, owner or lienholder, when--storage charges, when authorized--search of vehicle for ownership documents--petition, determination of wrongful taking--possessory lien,

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Notice to towing company, owner or lienholder, when--storage charges,when authorized--search of vehicle for ownershipdocuments--petition, determination of wrongful taking--possessorylien, new title, how issued--sale of abandoned property bymunicipality or county, requirements--towing company, new titlewhen. 304.156.1.Within five working days of receipt of the crime inquiryand inspection report under section 304.155 or the abandoned propertyreport under section 304.157, the director of revenue shall search therecords of the department of revenue, or initiate an inquiry with anotherstate, if the evidence presented indicated the abandoned property wasregistered or titled in another state, to determine the name and address ofthe owner and lienholder, if any.After ascertaining the name and addressof the owner and lienholder, if any, the department shall, within fifteenworking days, notify the towing company.Any towing company which comesinto possession of abandoned property pursuant to section 304.155 or304.157 and who claims a lien for recovering, towing or storing abandonedproperty shall give notice to the title owner and to all persons claiming alien thereon, as disclosed by the records of the department of revenue orof a corresponding agency in any other state.The towing company shallnotify the owner and any lienholder within ten business days of the date ofmailing indicated on the notice sent by the department of revenue, bycertified mail, return receipt requested.The notice shall contain thefollowing: (1)The name, address and telephone number of the storage facility; (2)The date, reason and place from which the abandoned property wasremoved; (3)A statement that the amount of the accrued towing, storage andadministrative costs are the responsibility of the owner, and that storageand/or administrative costs will continue to accrue as a legal liability ofthe owner until the abandoned property is redeemed; (4)A statement that the storage firm claims a possessory lien forall such charges; (5)A statement that the owner or holder of a valid security interestof record may retake possession of the abandoned property at any timeduring business hours by proving ownership or rights to a secured interestand paying all towing and storage charges; (6)A statement that, should the owner consider that the towing orremoval was improper or not legally justified, the owner has a right torequest a hearing as provided in this section to contest the propriety ofsuch towing or removal; (7)A statement that if the abandoned property remains unclaimed forthirty days from the date of mailing the notice, title to the abandonedproperty will be transferred to the person or firm in possession of theabandoned property free of all prior liens; and (8)A statement that any charges in excess of the value of theabandoned property at the time of such transfer shall remain a liability ofthe owner. 2.A towing company may only assess reasonable storage charges forabandoned property towed without the consent of the owner.Reasonablestorage charges shall not exceed the charges for vehicles which have beentowed with the consent of the owner on a negotiated basis.Storage chargesmay be assessed only for the time in which the towing company complies withthe procedural requirements of sections 304.155 to 304.158. 3.In the event that the records of the department of revenue fail todisclose the name of the owner or any lienholder of record, the departmentshall notify the towing company which shall attempt to locate documents orother evidence of ownership on or within the abandoned property itself.The towing company must certify that a physical search of the abandonedproperty disclosed that no ownership documents were found and a good faitheffort has been made.For purposes of this section, "good faith effort"means that the following checks have been performed by the company toestablish the prior state of registration and title: (1)Check of the abandoned property for any type of license plates,license plate record, temporary permit, inspection sticker, decal or otherevidence which may indicate a state of possible registration and title; (2)Check the law enforcement report for a license plate number orregistration number if the abandoned property was towed at the request of alaw enforcement agency; (3)Check the tow ticket/report of the tow truck operator to see if alicense plate was on the abandoned property at the beginning of the tow, ifa private tow; and (4)If there is no address of the owner on the impound report, checkthe law enforcement report to see if an out-of-state address is indicatedon the driver license information. 4.If no ownership information is discovered, the director of revenueshall be notified in writing and title obtained in accordance withsubsection 7 of this section. 5.(1)The owner of the abandoned property removed pursuant to theprovisions of section 304.155 or 304.157 or any person claiming a lien,other than the towing company, within ten days after the receipt ofnotification from the towing company pursuant to subsection 1 of thissection may file a petition in the associate circuit court in the countywhere the abandoned property is stored to determine if the abandonedproperty was wrongfully taken or withheld from the owner.The petitionshall name the towing company among the defendants.The petition may alsoname the agency ordering the tow or the owner, lessee or agent of the realproperty from which the abandoned property was removed.The director ofrevenue shall not be a party to such petition but a copy of the petitionshall be served on the director of revenue who shall not issue title tosuch abandoned property pursuant to this section until the petition isfinally decided. (2)Upon filing of a petition in the associate circuit court, theowner or lienholder may have the abandoned property released upon postingwith the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal tothe amount of the charges for towing and storage to ensure the payment ofsuch charges in the event he does not prevail.Upon the posting of thebond and the payment of the applicable fees, the court shall issue an ordernotifying the towing company of the posting of the bond and directing thetowing company to release the abandoned property.At the time of suchrelease, after reasonable inspection, the owner or lienholder shall give areceipt to the towing company reciting any claims for loss or damage to theabandoned property or the contents thereof. (3)Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the finalorder of the court shall provide for immediate payment in full of recovery,towing, and storage fees by the abandoned property owner or lienholder orthe owner, lessee, or agent thereof of the real property from which theabandoned property was removed. 6.A towing and storage lien shall be enforced as provided insubsection 7 of this section. 7.Thirty days after the notification form has been mailed to theabandoned property owner and holder of a security agreement and theproperty is unredeemed and no satisfactory arrangement has been made withthe lienholder in possession for continued storage, and the owner or holderof a security agreement has not requested a hearing as provided insubsection 5 of this section, the lienholder in possession may apply to thedirector of revenue for a certificate.The application for title shall beaccompanied by: (1)An affidavit from the lienholder in possession that he has beenin possession of the abandoned property for at least thirty days and theowner of the abandoned property or holder of a security agreement has notmade arrangements for payment of towing and storage charges; (2)An affidavit that the lienholder in possession has not beennotified of any application for hearing as provided in this section; (3)A copy of the abandoned property report or crime inquiry andinspection report; (4)A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest and a copy of thecertified mail receipt indicating that the owner and lienholder of recordwas sent a notice as required in this section; and (5)A copy of the envelope or mailing container showing the addressand postal markings indicating that the notice was "not forwardable" or"address unknown". 8.If notice to the owner and holder of a security agreement has beenreturned marked "not forwardable" or "addressee unknown", the lienholder inpossession shall comply with subsection 3 of this section. 9.Any municipality or county may adopt an ordinance regulating theremoval and sale of abandoned property provided such ordinance isconsistent with sections 304.155 to 304.158, and, for a home rule city withmore than four hundred thousand inhabitants and located in more than onecounty, includes the following provisions: (1)That the department of revenue records must be searched todetermine the registered owner or lienholder of the abandoned property; (2)That if a registered owner or lienholder is disclosed in therecords, that the owner and lienholder or owner or lienholder are mailed anotice by the governmental agency, by U.S. mail, advising of the towing andimpoundment; (3)That if the vehicle is older than six years and more than fiftypercent damaged by collision, fire, or decay, and has a fair market valueof less than two hundred dollars as determined by using any nationallyrecognized appraisal book or method, it must be held no less than ten daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before being sold to alicensed salvage or scrap business; provided however where a title isrequired under this chapter an affidavit from a certified appraiserattesting that the value of the vehicle is less than two hundred dollars; (4)That all other vehicles must be held no less than thirty daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before they may besold. 10.Any municipality or county which has physical possession of theabandoned property and which sells abandoned property in accordance with alocal ordinance may transfer ownership by means of a bill of sale signed bythe municipal or county clerk or deputy and sealed with the officialmunicipal or county seal.Such bill of sale shall contain the make andmodel of the abandoned property, the complete abandoned propertyidentification number and the odometer reading of the abandoned property ifavailable and shall be lawful proof of ownership for any dealer registeredunder the provisions of section 301.218, RSMo, or section 301.560, RSMo, orfor any other person.Any dealer or other person purchasing such propertyfrom a municipality or county shall apply within thirty days of purchasefor a certificate.Anyone convicted of a violation of this section shallbe guilty of an infraction. 11.Any persons who have towed abandoned property prior to August 28,1996, may, until January 1, 2000, apply to the department of revenue for acertificate.The application shall be accompanied by: (1)A notarized affidavit explaining the circumstances by which theabandoned property came into their possession, including the name of theowner or possessor of real property from which the abandoned property wasremoved; (2)The date of the removal; (3)The current location of the abandoned property; (4)An inspection of the abandoned property as prescribed by thedirector; and (5)A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest of record and a copy ofthe certified mail receipt. 12.If the director is satisfied with the genuineness of theapplication and supporting documents submitted pursuant to this section,the director shall issue one of the following: (1)An original certificate of title if the vehicle owner hasobtained a vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190,RSMo, which indicates that the vehicle was not previously in a salvagedcondition or rebuilt; (2)An original certificate of title designated as prior salvage ifthe vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190, RSMo,indicates the vehicle was previously in a salvage condition or rebuilt; (3)A salvage certificate of title designated with the words"salvage/abandoned property" or junking certificate based on the conditionof the abandoned property as stated in the abandoned property report orcrime inquiry and inspection report; (4)Notwithstanding the provisions of section 301.573, RSMo, to thecontrary, if satisfied with the genuineness of the application andsupporting documents, the director shall issue an original title toabandoned property previously issued a salvage title as provided in thissection, if the vehicle examination certificate as provided in section301.190, RSMo, does not indicate the abandoned property was previously in asalvage condition or rebuilt. 13.If abandoned property is insured and the insurer of propertyregards the property as a total loss and the insurer satisfies a claim bythe owner for the property, then the insurer or lienholder shall claim andremove the property from the storage facility or make arrangements totransfer the title, and such transfer of title subject to agreement shallbe in complete satisfaction of all claims for towing and storage, to thetowing company or storage facility.The owner of the abandoned vehicle,lienholder or insurer, to the extent the vehicle owner's insurance policycovers towing and storage charges, shall pay reasonable fees assessed bythe towing company and storage facility.The property shall be claimed andremoved or title transferred to the towing company or storage facilitywithin thirty days of the date that the insurer paid a claim for the totalloss of the property or is notified as to the location of the abandonedproperty, whichever is the later event.Upon request, the insurer of theproperty shall supply the towing company and storage facility with thename, address and phone number of the insurance company and of the insuredand with a statement regarding which party is responsible for the paymentof towing and storage charges under the insurance policy.(L. 1996 S.B. 560, A.L. 1999 S.B. 19, A.L. 2004 H.B. 996 andH.B. 1142 and H.B. 1201 and H.B. 1489)*This section was amended by both H.B. 996, et al., and S.B. 1233,et al. during the Second Regular Session of the 92nd GeneralAssembly, 2004.Due to possible conflict, both versions areprinted here.Notice to towing company, owner or lienholder, when--storage charges,when authorized--search of vehicle for ownership documents--petition,determination of wrongful taking--possessory lien, new title, howissued--sale of abandoned property by municipality or county--towingcompany, new title when. 304.156.1.Within five working days of receipt of the crime inquiryand inspection report under section 304.155 or the abandoned propertyreport under section 304.157, the director of revenue shall search therecords of the department of revenue, or initiate an inquiry with anotherstate, if the evidence presented indicated the abandoned property wasregistered or titled in another state, to determine the name and address ofthe owner and lienholder, if any.After ascertaining the name and addressof the owner and lienholder, if any, the department shall, within fifteenworking days, notify the towing company.Any towing company which comesinto possession of abandoned property pursuant to section 304.155 or304.157 and who claims a lien for recovering, towing or storing abandonedproperty shall give notice to the title owner and to all persons claiming alien thereon, as disclosed by the records of the department of revenue orof a corresponding agency in any other state.The towing company shallnotify the owner and any lienholder within ten business days of the date ofmailing indicated on the notice sent by the department of revenue, bycertified mail, return receipt requested.The notice shall contain thefollowing: (1)The name, address and telephone number of the storage facility; (2)The date, reason and place from which the abandoned property wasremoved; (3)A statement that the amount of the accrued towing, storage andadministrative costs are the responsibility of the owner, and that storageand/or administrative costs will continue to accrue as a legal liability ofthe owner until the abandoned property is redeemed; (4)A statement that the storage firm claims a possessory lien forall such charges; (5)A statement that the owner or holder of a valid security interestof record may retake possession of the abandoned property at any timeduring business hours by proving ownership or rights to a secured interestand paying all towing and storage charges; (6)A statement that, should the owner consider that the towing orremoval was improper or not legally justified, the owner has a right torequest a hearing as provided in this section to contest the propriety ofsuch towing or removal; (7)A statement that if the abandoned property remains unclaimed forthirty days from the date of mailing the notice, title to the abandonedproperty will be transferred to the person or firm in possession of theabandoned property free of all prior liens; and (8)A statement that any charges in excess of the value of theabandoned property at the time of such transfer shall remain a liability ofthe owner. 2.A towing company may only assess reasonable storage charges forabandoned property towed without the consent of the owner.Reasonablestorage charges shall not exceed the charges for vehicles which have beentowed with the consent of the owner on a negotiated basis.Storage chargesmay be assessed only for the time in which the towing company complies withthe procedural requirements of sections 304.155 to 304.158. 3.In the event that the records of the department of revenue fail todisclose the name of the owner or any lienholder of record, the departmentshall notify the towing company which shall attempt to locate documents orother evidence of ownership on or within the abandoned property itself.The towing company must certify that a physical search of the abandonedproperty disclosed that no ownership documents were found and a good faitheffort has been made.For purposes of this section, "good faith effort"means that the following checks have been performed by the company toestablish the prior state of registration and title: (1)Check of the abandoned property for any type of license plates,license plate record, temporary permit, inspection sticker, decal or otherevidence which may indicate a state of possible registration and title; (2)Check the law enforcement report for a license plate number orregistration number if the abandoned property was towed at the request of alaw enforcement agency; (3)Check the tow ticket/report of the tow truck operator to see if alicense plate was on the abandoned property at the beginning of the tow, ifa private tow; and (4)If there is no address of the owner on the impound report, checkthe law enforcement report to see if an out-of-state address is indicatedon the driver license information. 4.If no ownership information is discovered, the director of revenueshall be notified in writing and title obtained in accordance withsubsection 7 of this section. 5.(1)The owner of the abandoned property removed pursuant to theprovisions of section 304.155 or 304.157 or any person claiming a lien,other than the towing company, within ten days after the receipt ofnotification from the towing company pursuant to subsection 1 of thissection may file a petition in the associate circuit court in the countywhere the abandoned property is stored to determine if the abandonedproperty was wrongfully taken or withheld from the owner.The petitionshall name the towing company among the defendants.The petition may alsoname the agency ordering the tow or the owner, lessee or agent of the realproperty from which the abandoned property was removed.The director ofrevenue shall not be a party to such petition but a copy of the petitionshall be served on the director of revenue who shall not issue title tosuch abandoned property pursuant to this section until the petition isfinally decided. (2)Upon filing of a petition in the associate circuit court, theowner or lienholder may have the abandoned property released upon postingwith the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal tothe amount of the charges for towing and storage to ensure the payment ofsuch charges in the event he does not prevail.Upon the posting of thebond and the payment of the applicable fees, the court shall issue an ordernotifying the towing company of the posting of the bond and directing thetowing company to release the abandoned property.At the time of suchrelease, after reasonable inspection, the owner or lienholder shall give areceipt to the towing company reciting any claims for loss or damage to theabandoned property or the contents thereof. (3)Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the finalorder of the court shall provide for immediate payment in full of recovery,towing, and storage fees by the abandoned property owner or lienholder orthe owner, lessee, or agent thereof of the real property from which theabandoned property was removed. 6.A towing and storage lien shall be enforced as provided insubsection 7 of this section. 7.Thirty days after the notification form has been mailed to theabandoned property owner and holder of a security agreement and theproperty is unredeemed and no satisfactory arrangement has been made withthe lienholder in possession for continued storage, and the owner or holderof a security agreement has not requested a hearing as provided insubsection 5 of this section, the lienholder in possession may apply to thedirector of revenue for a certificate.The application for title shall beaccompanied by: (1)An affidavit from the lienholder in possession that he has beenin possession of the abandoned property for at least thirty days and theowner of the abandoned property or holder of a security agreement has notmade arrangements for payment of towing and storage charges; (2)An affidavit that the lienholder in possession has not beennotified of any application for hearing as provided in this section; (3)A copy of the abandoned property report or crime inquiry andinspection report; (4)A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest and a copy of thecertified mail receipt indicating that the owner and lienholder of recordwas sent a notice as required in this section; and (5)A copy of the envelope or mailing container showing the addressand postal markings indicating that the notice was "not forwardable" or"address unknown". 8.If notice to the owner and holder of a security agreement has beenreturned marked "not forwardable" or "addressee unknown", the lienholder inpossession shall comply with subsection 3 of this section. 9.Any municipality or county may adopt an ordinance regulating theremoval and sale of abandoned property provided such ordinance isconsistent with sections 304.155 to 304.158, and, for a home rule city withmore than four hundred thousand inhabitants and located in more than onecounty, includes the following provisions: (1)That the department of revenue records must be searched todetermine the registered owner or lienholder of the abandoned property; (2)That if a registered owner or lienholder is disclosed in therecords, that the owner and lienholder or owner or lienholder are mailed anotice by the local governmental agency, by U.S. mail, advising of thetowing and impoundment; (3)That if the vehicle is older than six years and more than fiftypercent damaged by collision, fire, or decay, and has a fair market valueof less than two hundred dollars as determined by using any nationallyrecognized appraisal book or method, it must be held no less than ten daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this section before being sold to alicensed salvage or scrap business; provided however where a title isrequired under this chapter an affidavit from a certified appraiserattesting that the value of the vehicle is less than two hundred dollars; (4)That all other vehicles must be held no less than thirty daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before they may besold. 10.Any municipality or county which has physical possession of theabandoned property and which sells abandoned property in accordance with alocal ordinance may transfer ownership by means of a bill of sale signed bythe municipal or county clerk or deputy and sealed with the officialmunicipal or county seal.Such bill of sale shall contain the make andmodel of the abandoned property, the complete abandoned propertyidentification number and the odometer reading of the abandoned property ifavailable and shall be lawful proof of ownership for any dealer registeredunder the provisions of section 301.218, RSMo, or section 301.560, RSMo, orfor any other person.Any dealer or other person purchasing such propertyfrom a municipality or county shall apply within thirty days of purchasefor a certificate.Anyone convicted of a violation of this section shallbe guilty of an infraction. 11.Any persons who have towed abandoned property prior to August 28,1996, may, until January 1, 2000, apply to the department of revenue for acertificate.The application shall be accompanied by: (1)A notarized affidavit explaining the circumstances by which theabandoned property came into their possession, including the name of theowner or possessor of real property from which the abandoned property wasremoved; (2)The date of the removal; (3)The current location of the abandoned property; (4)An inspection of the abandoned property as prescribed by thedirector; and (5)A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest of record and a copy ofthe certified mail receipt. 12.If the director is satisfied with the genuineness of theapplication and supporting documents submitted pursuant to this section,the director shall issue one of the following: (1)An original certificate of title if the vehicle owner hasobtained a vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190,RSMo, which indicates that the vehicle was not previously in a salvagedcondition or rebuilt; (2)An original certificate of title designated as prior salvage ifthe vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190, RSMo,indicates the vehicle was previously in a salvage condition or rebuilt; (3)A salvage certificate of title designated with the words"salvage/abandoned property" or junking certificate based on the conditionof the abandoned property as stated in the abandoned property report orcrime inquiry and inspection report; (4)Notwithstanding the provisions of section 301.573, RSMo, to thecontrary, if satisfied with the genuineness of the application andsupporting documents, the director shall issue an original title toabandoned property previously issued a salvage title as provided in thissection, if the vehicle examination certificate as provided in section301.190, RSMo, does not indicate the abandoned property was previously in asalvage condition or rebuilt. 13.If abandoned property is insured and the insurer of propertyregards the property as a total loss and the insurer satisfies a claim bythe owner for the property, then the insurer or lienholder shall claim andremove the property from the storage facility or make arrangements totransfer the title, and such transfer of title subject to agreement shallbe in complete satisfaction of all claims for towing and storage, to thetowing company or storage facility.The owner of the abandoned vehicle,lienholder or insurer, to the extent the vehicle owner's insurance policycovers towing and storage charges, shall pay reasonable fees assessed bythe towing company and storage facility.The property shall be claimed andremoved or title transferred to the towing company or storage facilitywithin thirty days of the date that the insurer paid a claim for the totalloss of the property or is notified as to the location of the abandonedproperty, whichever is the later event.Upon request, the insurer of theproperty shall supply the towing company and storage facility with thename, address and phone number of the insurance company and of the insuredand with a statement regarding which party is responsible for the paymentof towing and storage charges under the insurance policy.(L. 1996 S.B. 560, A.L. 1999 S.B. 19, A.L. 2004 S.B. 1233, et al.)Effective 1-01-05*This section was amended by both H.B. 996 and S.B. 1233, et al.during the second regular session of the 92nd General Assembly,2004.Due to possible conflict, both versions appear here.
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  • Notice to towing company, owner or lienholder, when--storage charges,when authorized--search of vehicle for ownershipdocuments--petition, determination of wrongful taking--possessorylien, new title, how issued--sale of abandoned property bymunicipality or county, requirements--towing company, new titlewhen.

    304.156. 1. Within five working days of receipt of the crime inquiryand inspection report under section 304.155 or the abandoned propertyreport under section 304.157, the director of revenue shall search therecords of the department of revenue, or initiate an inquiry with anotherstate, if the evidence presented indicated the abandoned property wasregistered or titled in another state, to determine the name and address ofthe owner and lienholder, if any. After ascertaining the name and addressof the owner and lienholder, if any, the department shall, within fifteenworking days, notify the towing company. Any towing company which comesinto possession of abandoned property pursuant to section 304.155 or304.157 and who claims a lien for recovering, towing or storing abandonedproperty shall give notice to the title owner and to all persons claiming alien thereon, as disclosed by the records of the department of revenue orof a corresponding agency in any other state. The towing company shallnotify the owner and any lienholder within ten business days of the date ofmailing indicated on the notice sent by the department of revenue, bycertified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall contain thefollowing:

    (1) The name, address and telephone number of the storage facility;

    (2) The date, reason and place from which the abandoned property wasremoved;

    (3) A statement that the amount of the accrued towing, storage andadministrative costs are the responsibility of the owner, and that storageand/or administrative costs will continue to accrue as a legal liability ofthe owner until the abandoned property is redeemed;

    (4) A statement that the storage firm claims a possessory lien forall such charges;

    (5) A statement that the owner or holder of a valid security interestof record may retake possession of the abandoned property at any timeduring business hours by proving ownership or rights to a secured interestand paying all towing and storage charges;

    (6) A statement that, should the owner consider that the towing orremoval was improper or not legally justified, the owner has a right torequest a hearing as provided in this section to contest the propriety ofsuch towing or removal;

    (7) A statement that if the abandoned property remains unclaimed forthirty days from the date of mailing the notice, title to the abandonedproperty will be transferred to the person or firm in possession of theabandoned property free of all prior liens; and

    (8) A statement that any charges in excess of the value of theabandoned property at the time of such transfer shall remain a liability ofthe owner.

    2. A towing company may only assess reasonable storage charges forabandoned property towed without the consent of the owner. Reasonablestorage charges shall not exceed the charges for vehicles which have beentowed with the consent of the owner on a negotiated basis. Storage chargesmay be assessed only for the time in which the towing company complies withthe procedural requirements of sections 304.155 to 304.158.

    3. In the event that the records of the department of revenue fail todisclose the name of the owner or any lienholder of record, the departmentshall notify the towing company which shall attempt to locate documents orother evidence of ownership on or within the abandoned property itself.The towing company must certify that a physical search of the abandonedproperty disclosed that no ownership documents were found and a good faitheffort has been made. For purposes of this section, "good faith effort"means that the following checks have been performed by the company toestablish the prior state of registration and title:

    (1) Check of the abandoned property for any type of license plates,license plate record, temporary permit, inspection sticker, decal or otherevidence which may indicate a state of possible registration and title;

    (2) Check the law enforcement report for a license plate number orregistration number if the abandoned property was towed at the request of alaw enforcement agency;

    (3) Check the tow ticket/report of the tow truck operator to see if alicense plate was on the abandoned property at the beginning of the tow, ifa private tow; and

    (4) If there is no address of the owner on the impound report, checkthe law enforcement report to see if an out-of-state address is indicatedon the driver license information.

    4. If no ownership information is discovered, the director of revenueshall be notified in writing and title obtained in accordance withsubsection 7 of this section.

    5. (1) The owner of the abandoned property removed pursuant to theprovisions of section 304.155 or 304.157 or any person claiming a lien,other than the towing company, within ten days after the receipt ofnotification from the towing company pursuant to subsection 1 of thissection may file a petition in the associate circuit court in the countywhere the abandoned property is stored to determine if the abandonedproperty was wrongfully taken or withheld from the owner. The petitionshall name the towing company among the defendants. The petition may alsoname the agency ordering the tow or the owner, lessee or agent of the realproperty from which the abandoned property was removed. The director ofrevenue shall not be a party to such petition but a copy of the petitionshall be served on the director of revenue who shall not issue title tosuch abandoned property pursuant to this section until the petition isfinally decided.

    (2) Upon filing of a petition in the associate circuit court, theowner or lienholder may have the abandoned property released upon postingwith the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal tothe amount of the charges for towing and storage to ensure the payment ofsuch charges in the event he does not prevail. Upon the posting of thebond and the payment of the applicable fees, the court shall issue an ordernotifying the towing company of the posting of the bond and directing thetowing company to release the abandoned property. At the time of suchrelease, after reasonable inspection, the owner or lienholder shall give areceipt to the towing company reciting any claims for loss or damage to theabandoned property or the contents thereof.

    (3) Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the finalorder of the court shall provide for immediate payment in full of recovery,towing, and storage fees by the abandoned property owner or lienholder orthe owner, lessee, or agent thereof of the real property from which theabandoned property was removed.

    6. A towing and storage lien shall be enforced as provided insubsection 7 of this section.

    7. Thirty days after the notification form has been mailed to theabandoned property owner and holder of a security agreement and theproperty is unredeemed and no satisfactory arrangement has been made withthe lienholder in possession for continued storage, and the owner or holderof a security agreement has not requested a hearing as provided insubsection 5 of this section, the lienholder in possession may apply to thedirector of revenue for a certificate. The application for title shall beaccompanied by:

    (1) An affidavit from the lienholder in possession that he has beenin possession of the abandoned property for at least thirty days and theowner of the abandoned property or holder of a security agreement has notmade arrangements for payment of towing and storage charges;

    (2) An affidavit that the lienholder in possession has not beennotified of any application for hearing as provided in this section;

    (3) A copy of the abandoned property report or crime inquiry andinspection report;

    (4) A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest and a copy of thecertified mail receipt indicating that the owner and lienholder of recordwas sent a notice as required in this section; and

    (5) A copy of the envelope or mailing container showing the addressand postal markings indicating that the notice was "not forwardable" or"address unknown".

    8. If notice to the owner and holder of a security agreement has beenreturned marked "not forwardable" or "addressee unknown", the lienholder inpossession shall comply with subsection 3 of this section.

    9. Any municipality or county may adopt an ordinance regulating theremoval and sale of abandoned property provided such ordinance isconsistent with sections 304.155 to 304.158, and, for a home rule city withmore than four hundred thousand inhabitants and located in more than onecounty, includes the following provisions:

    (1) That the department of revenue records must be searched todetermine the registered owner or lienholder of the abandoned property;

    (2) That if a registered owner or lienholder is disclosed in therecords, that the owner and lienholder or owner or lienholder are mailed anotice by the governmental agency, by U.S. mail, advising of the towing andimpoundment;

    (3) That if the vehicle is older than six years and more than fiftypercent damaged by collision, fire, or decay, and has a fair market valueof less than two hundred dollars as determined by using any nationallyrecognized appraisal book or method, it must be held no less than ten daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before being sold to alicensed salvage or scrap business; provided however where a title isrequired under this chapter an affidavit from a certified appraiserattesting that the value of the vehicle is less than two hundred dollars;

    (4) That all other vehicles must be held no less than thirty daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before they may besold.

    10. Any municipality or county which has physical possession of theabandoned property and which sells abandoned property in accordance with alocal ordinance may transfer ownership by means of a bill of sale signed bythe municipal or county clerk or deputy and sealed with the officialmunicipal or county seal. Such bill of sale shall contain the make andmodel of the abandoned property, the complete abandoned propertyidentification number and the odometer reading of the abandoned property ifavailable and shall be lawful proof of ownership for any dealer registeredunder the provisions of section 301.218, RSMo, or section 301.560, RSMo, orfor any other person. Any dealer or other person purchasing such propertyfrom a municipality or county shall apply within thirty days of purchasefor a certificate. Anyone convicted of a violation of this section shallbe guilty of an infraction.

    11. Any persons who have towed abandoned property prior to August 28,1996, may, until January 1, 2000, apply to the department of revenue for acertificate. The application shall be accompanied by:

    (1) A notarized affidavit explaining the circumstances by which theabandoned property came into their possession, including the name of theowner or possessor of real property from which the abandoned property wasremoved;

    (2) The date of the removal;

    (3) The current location of the abandoned property;

    (4) An inspection of the abandoned property as prescribed by thedirector; and

    (5) A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest of record and a copy ofthe certified mail receipt.

    12. If the director is satisfied with the genuineness of theapplication and supporting documents submitted pursuant to this section,the director shall issue one of the following:

    (1) An original certificate of title if the vehicle owner hasobtained a vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190,RSMo, which indicates that the vehicle was not previously in a salvagedcondition or rebuilt;

    (2) An original certificate of title designated as prior salvage ifthe vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190, RSMo,indicates the vehicle was previously in a salvage condition or rebuilt;

    (3) A salvage certificate of title designated with the words"salvage/abandoned property" or junking certificate based on the conditionof the abandoned property as stated in the abandoned property report orcrime inquiry and inspection report;

    (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 301.573, RSMo, to thecontrary, if satisfied with the genuineness of the application andsupporting documents, the director shall issue an original title toabandoned property previously issued a salvage title as provided in thissection, if the vehicle examination certificate as provided in section301.190, RSMo, does not indicate the abandoned property was previously in asalvage condition or rebuilt.

    13. If abandoned property is insured and the insurer of propertyregards the property as a total loss and the insurer satisfies a claim bythe owner for the property, then the insurer or lienholder shall claim andremove the property from the storage facility or make arrangements totransfer the title, and such transfer of title subject to agreement shallbe in complete satisfaction of all claims for towing and storage, to thetowing company or storage facility. The owner of the abandoned vehicle,lienholder or insurer, to the extent the vehicle owner's insurance policycovers towing and storage charges, shall pay reasonable fees assessed bythe towing company and storage facility. The property shall be claimed andremoved or title transferred to the towing company or storage facilitywithin thirty days of the date that the insurer paid a claim for the totalloss of the property or is notified as to the location of the abandonedproperty, whichever is the later event. Upon request, the insurer of theproperty shall supply the towing company and storage facility with thename, address and phone number of the insurance company and of the insuredand with a statement regarding which party is responsible for the paymentof towing and storage charges under the insurance policy.

    (L. 1996 S.B. 560, A.L. 1999 S.B. 19, A.L. 2004 H.B. 996 and H.B. 1142 and H.B. 1201 and H.B. 1489)

    *This section was amended by both H.B. 996, et al., and S.B. 1233, et al. during the Second Regular Session of the 92nd General Assembly, 2004. Due to possible conflict, both versions are printed here.

    Notice to towing company, owner or lienholder, when--storage charges,when authorized--search of vehicle for ownership documents--petition,determination of wrongful taking--possessory lien, new title, howissued--sale of abandoned property by municipality or county--towingcompany, new title when.

    304.156. 1. Within five working days of receipt of the crime inquiryand inspection report under section 304.155 or the abandoned propertyreport under section 304.157, the director of revenue shall search therecords of the department of revenue, or initiate an inquiry with anotherstate, if the evidence presented indicated the abandoned property wasregistered or titled in another state, to determine the name and address ofthe owner and lienholder, if any. After ascertaining the name and addressof the owner and lienholder, if any, the department shall, within fifteenworking days, notify the towing company. Any towing company which comesinto possession of abandoned property pursuant to section 304.155 or304.157 and who claims a lien for recovering, towing or storing abandonedproperty shall give notice to the title owner and to all persons claiming alien thereon, as disclosed by the records of the department of revenue orof a corresponding agency in any other state. The towing company shallnotify the owner and any lienholder within ten business days of the date ofmailing indicated on the notice sent by the department of revenue, bycertified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall contain thefollowing:

    (1) The name, address and telephone number of the storage facility;

    (2) The date, reason and place from which the abandoned property wasremoved;

    (3) A statement that the amount of the accrued towing, storage andadministrative costs are the responsibility of the owner, and that storageand/or administrative costs will continue to accrue as a legal liability ofthe owner until the abandoned property is redeemed;

    (4) A statement that the storage firm claims a possessory lien forall such charges;

    (5) A statement that the owner or holder of a valid security interestof record may retake possession of the abandoned property at any timeduring business hours by proving ownership or rights to a secured interestand paying all towing and storage charges;

    (6) A statement that, should the owner consider that the towing orremoval was improper or not legally justified, the owner has a right torequest a hearing as provided in this section to contest the propriety ofsuch towing or removal;

    (7) A statement that if the abandoned property remains unclaimed forthirty days from the date of mailing the notice, title to the abandonedproperty will be transferred to the person or firm in possession of theabandoned property free of all prior liens; and

    (8) A statement that any charges in excess of the value of theabandoned property at the time of such transfer shall remain a liability ofthe owner.

    2. A towing company may only assess reasonable storage charges forabandoned property towed without the consent of the owner. Reasonablestorage charges shall not exceed the charges for vehicles which have beentowed with the consent of the owner on a negotiated basis. Storage chargesmay be assessed only for the time in which the towing company complies withthe procedural requirements of sections 304.155 to 304.158.

    3. In the event that the records of the department of revenue fail todisclose the name of the owner or any lienholder of record, the departmentshall notify the towing company which shall attempt to locate documents orother evidence of ownership on or within the abandoned property itself.The towing company must certify that a physical search of the abandonedproperty disclosed that no ownership documents were found and a good faitheffort has been made. For purposes of this section, "good faith effort"means that the following checks have been performed by the company toestablish the prior state of registration and title:

    (1) Check of the abandoned property for any type of license plates,license plate record, temporary permit, inspection sticker, decal or otherevidence which may indicate a state of possible registration and title;

    (2) Check the law enforcement report for a license plate number orregistration number if the abandoned property was towed at the request of alaw enforcement agency;

    (3) Check the tow ticket/report of the tow truck operator to see if alicense plate was on the abandoned property at the beginning of the tow, ifa private tow; and

    (4) If there is no address of the owner on the impound report, checkthe law enforcement report to see if an out-of-state address is indicatedon the driver license information.

    4. If no ownership information is discovered, the director of revenueshall be notified in writing and title obtained in accordance withsubsection 7 of this section.

    5. (1) The owner of the abandoned property removed pursuant to theprovisions of section 304.155 or 304.157 or any person claiming a lien,other than the towing company, within ten days after the receipt ofnotification from the towing company pursuant to subsection 1 of thissection may file a petition in the associate circuit court in the countywhere the abandoned property is stored to determine if the abandonedproperty was wrongfully taken or withheld from the owner. The petitionshall name the towing company among the defendants. The petition may alsoname the agency ordering the tow or the owner, lessee or agent of the realproperty from which the abandoned property was removed. The director ofrevenue shall not be a party to such petition but a copy of the petitionshall be served on the director of revenue who shall not issue title tosuch abandoned property pursuant to this section until the petition isfinally decided.

    (2) Upon filing of a petition in the associate circuit court, theowner or lienholder may have the abandoned property released upon postingwith the court a cash or surety bond or other adequate security equal tothe amount of the charges for towing and storage to ensure the payment ofsuch charges in the event he does not prevail. Upon the posting of thebond and the payment of the applicable fees, the court shall issue an ordernotifying the towing company of the posting of the bond and directing thetowing company to release the abandoned property. At the time of suchrelease, after reasonable inspection, the owner or lienholder shall give areceipt to the towing company reciting any claims for loss or damage to theabandoned property or the contents thereof.

    (3) Upon determining the respective rights of the parties, the finalorder of the court shall provide for immediate payment in full of recovery,towing, and storage fees by the abandoned property owner or lienholder orthe owner, lessee, or agent thereof of the real property from which theabandoned property was removed.

    6. A towing and storage lien shall be enforced as provided insubsection 7 of this section.

    7. Thirty days after the notification form has been mailed to theabandoned property owner and holder of a security agreement and theproperty is unredeemed and no satisfactory arrangement has been made withthe lienholder in possession for continued storage, and the owner or holderof a security agreement has not requested a hearing as provided insubsection 5 of this section, the lienholder in possession may apply to thedirector of revenue for a certificate. The application for title shall beaccompanied by:

    (1) An affidavit from the lienholder in possession that he has beenin possession of the abandoned property for at least thirty days and theowner of the abandoned property or holder of a security agreement has notmade arrangements for payment of towing and storage charges;

    (2) An affidavit that the lienholder in possession has not beennotified of any application for hearing as provided in this section;

    (3) A copy of the abandoned property report or crime inquiry andinspection report;

    (4) A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest and a copy of thecertified mail receipt indicating that the owner and lienholder of recordwas sent a notice as required in this section; and

    (5) A copy of the envelope or mailing container showing the addressand postal markings indicating that the notice was "not forwardable" or"address unknown".

    8. If notice to the owner and holder of a security agreement has beenreturned marked "not forwardable" or "addressee unknown", the lienholder inpossession shall comply with subsection 3 of this section.

    9. Any municipality or county may adopt an ordinance regulating theremoval and sale of abandoned property provided such ordinance isconsistent with sections 304.155 to 304.158, and, for a home rule city withmore than four hundred thousand inhabitants and located in more than onecounty, includes the following provisions:

    (1) That the department of revenue records must be searched todetermine the registered owner or lienholder of the abandoned property;

    (2) That if a registered owner or lienholder is disclosed in therecords, that the owner and lienholder or owner or lienholder are mailed anotice by the local governmental agency, by U.S. mail, advising of thetowing and impoundment;

    (3) That if the vehicle is older than six years and more than fiftypercent damaged by collision, fire, or decay, and has a fair market valueof less than two hundred dollars as determined by using any nationallyrecognized appraisal book or method, it must be held no less than ten daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this section before being sold to alicensed salvage or scrap business; provided however where a title isrequired under this chapter an affidavit from a certified appraiserattesting that the value of the vehicle is less than two hundred dollars;

    (4) That all other vehicles must be held no less than thirty daysafter the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before they may besold.

    10. Any municipality or county which has physical possession of theabandoned property and which sells abandoned property in accordance with alocal ordinance may transfer ownership by means of a bill of sale signed bythe municipal or county clerk or deputy and sealed with the officialmunicipal or county seal. Such bill of sale shall contain the make andmodel of the abandoned property, the complete abandoned propertyidentification number and the odometer reading of the abandoned property ifavailable and shall be lawful proof of ownership for any dealer registeredunder the provisions of section 301.218, RSMo, or section 301.560, RSMo, orfor any other person. Any dealer or other person purchasing such propertyfrom a municipality or county shall apply within thirty days of purchasefor a certificate. Anyone convicted of a violation of this section shallbe guilty of an infraction.

    11. Any persons who have towed abandoned property prior to August 28,1996, may, until January 1, 2000, apply to the department of revenue for acertificate. The application shall be accompanied by:

    (1) A notarized affidavit explaining the circumstances by which theabandoned property came into their possession, including the name of theowner or possessor of real property from which the abandoned property wasremoved;

    (2) The date of the removal;

    (3) The current location of the abandoned property;

    (4) An inspection of the abandoned property as prescribed by thedirector; and

    (5) A copy of the thirty-day notice given by certified mail to anyowner and person holding a valid security interest of record and a copy ofthe certified mail receipt.

    12. If the director is satisfied with the genuineness of theapplication and supporting documents submitted pursuant to this section,the director shall issue one of the following:

    (1) An original certificate of title if the vehicle owner hasobtained a vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190,RSMo, which indicates that the vehicle was not previously in a salvagedcondition or rebuilt;

    (2) An original certificate of title designated as prior salvage ifthe vehicle examination certificate as provided in section 301.190, RSMo,indicates the vehicle was previously in a salvage condition or rebuilt;

    (3) A salvage certificate of title designated with the words"salvage/abandoned property" or junking certificate based on the conditionof the abandoned property as stated in the abandoned property report orcrime inquiry and inspection report;

    (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 301.573, RSMo, to thecontrary, if satisfied with the genuineness of the application andsupporting documents, the director shall issue an original title toabandoned property previously issued a salvage title as provided in thissection, if the vehicle examination certificate as provided in section301.190, RSMo, does not indicate the abandoned property was previously in asalvage condition or rebuilt.

    13. If abandoned property is insured and the insurer of propertyregards the property as a total loss and the insurer satisfies a claim bythe owner for the property, then the insurer or lienholder shall claim andremove the property from the storage facility or make arrangements totransfer the title, and such transfer of title subject to agreement shallbe in complete satisfaction of all claims for towing and storage, to thetowing company or storage facility. The owner of the abandoned vehicle,lienholder or insurer, to the extent the vehicle owner's insurance policycovers towing and storage charges, shall pay reasonable fees assessed bythe towing company and storage facility. The property shall be claimed andremoved or title transferred to the towing company or storage facilitywithin thirty days of the date that the insurer paid a claim for the totalloss of the property or is notified as to the location of the abandonedproperty, whichever is the later event. Upon request, the insurer of theproperty shall supply the towing company and storage facility with thename, address and phone number of the insurance company and of the insuredand with a statement regarding which party is responsible for the paymentof towing and storage charges under the insurance policy.

    (L. 1996 S.B. 560, A.L. 1999 S.B. 19, A.L. 2004 S.B. 1233, et al.)

    Effective 1-01-05

    *This section was amended by both H.B. 996 and S.B. 1233, et al. during the second regular session of the 92nd General Assembly, 2004. Due to possible conflict, both versions appear here.

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