California Repossession Laws / Recovery Requirements

Quick Answers:



Where do I refer to for Title or License Registration?

For state Title and License Information, refer to:


California Vehicle Registration Operations

Department of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 942869 Mail Station E 254

Sacramento, California 94269-0001


Telephone: 1-800-921-1117 or 1- 800-777-0133

Security Interests:

Shown on Certificate of Ownership (Pink Slip) or Title held by the lienholder.


Recording Requirements:

The Uniform Commercial Code is in force. Must be recorded with Department of Motor Vehicles, and is shown on the face of the Certificate of Ownership (Pink Slip).

Recovery Requirements:

As per the UCC, repossession is allowed and permitted as long as it is peaceful.

Redemption Requirements:

Debtor can redeem ten days after retaking or after judgment in replevin.

Deficiency Requirements:


Special Motor Vehicle Provisions:

The name and address of the lienholder shown on the face on both registration and ownership certificate constitutes notice of the lien to subsequent purchasers and creditors.

Documents Required to Transfer Ownership of Motor Vehicle:

Properly endorsed ownership certificate; current registration certificate, if available; air pollution device inspection certificate (statewide for 1963 and newer models in smog counties); a certificate of repossession; the releasing signature of the legal owner on the ownership certificate, or a release of lien; Bill of Sale or Power of Attorney, when applicable. Smog devices must be installed and certified prior to any change in registered or legal owner.


Documents Required for Liquidation:

Title, lien satisfied, affidavit of repossession, bill of sale, current registration card and smog certificate.



Remain with the vehicle. does not warrant the accuracy of these laws. The laws listed on are only a starting point for reference, and are not meant to be legal advice or a replacement for legal console. Please consult a repo company in your area, county, or state if you have any questions about repossession service there. All recovery requirements and fees are current as of 2002.

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