Selling or Junking a Trailer in CA: Title & Liability

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ColtonParker

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Mar 2, 2019
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My 5th wheel trailer is no longer fit for human habitation and I need to find someone to tow it away.  I may try to get someone to give me a couple hundred dollars for the privilege, but there's a good chance I'll be the one who ends up paying somebody to take it.  My question is:  What must I do to avoid liability in the event the person who I pay (or who pays me) to take the trailer ends up having an accident with it (or with parts of it that they used to build something new)? 

In 1998, I towed my trailer (which was registered in Oregon) into California and wound up keeping it parked in a Los Angeles area mobile home park since then.  Since I never took it back on the road, I did not bother to register it in CA.  I've since lost my Oregon registration and title paperwork, but I still have the original bill of sale.  Do I now need to pay California to get an official title that I can sign over to the new owner?  Is there a specific DMV form for this?

I'd also welcome any recommendations of RV salvage companies that could help me with this for little cost.  Thanks!
 

kdbgoat

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Apr 16, 2014
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If it was last titled in Oregon, California can't do a thing for you. I'm not sure how Oregon works, but here you just use the VIN of the trailer and file for a lost title with the DMV. Having a bill of sale may help. Delaware doesn't require a bill of sale. Maryland requires a notarized bill of sale. I would think that if you provide a notarized bill of sale to the person getting the trailer stating the date and time, keep a notarized copy for yourself, it would release you from any liability. Be aware I'm not a lawyer or a lawyer licenced to practice in California.
 

ColtonParker

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Mar 2, 2019
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Nevermind my deleted post; I misread your response.  Thanks for the idea of getting a notarized bill of sale to the new owner.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
If somebody buys it other than to salvage parts, they will need a valid vehicle title. If they just park it or scrap it, you probably just need a signed and dated bill of sale. With both parties signatures and preferably address or ID as well.  You need to be able to prove someone else took ownership, even if you sign over an old title. That's because the state DMVs won't know about a title transfer until the new owner actually applies for his new title.  Until then, if law enforcement or a lawyer inquires using the VIN, it will lead to you. My daughter ran into that problem years back - the buyer never titled the old car she sold to him and later abandoned it at the scene of an accident. Took awhile to get her off the hook.

Florida, for example, has a form you can file with the DMV notifying them that the vehicle has been sold and giving buyer info. It's for info only (not a title change), but it documents the sale in a timely manner. Maybe Oregon has something similar.
You have no legal liability after the time of the sale. The problem is credible documentation that an actual sale occurred. The more evidence you have, the safer you are.
 

Broke Boater

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Nov 16, 2017
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Brentwood, Northern Kookafonia
Cali doesn't require a title to register a trailer, bill of sale is all is needed even for a vehicle. Sell it for 1 dollar and file a release of liability with DMV. Make sure to get the buyers info on the release. You can download the form off the DMV website. This happens all the time with trailers, in fact now you won't get a title on trailer from Cali DMV unless you request it,,,gregg
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
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5,369
Just start calling wrecking yards and see if someone will come and get it.
 

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