FAQ
Abandoned Vehicles or Vessels - Law Enforcement
If an owner does not claim a vehicle or vessel that was removed as a result of a crash, or if it was stolen or seized to preserve evidence of a crime, when is the vehicle or vessel considered abandoned?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

If an owner has not redeemed a vehicle or vessel that was removed as a result of a crash, or was stolen or seized to preserve evidence of a crime within 20 days after it has been released by law enforcement it is considered abandoned. The custodian must report the vehicle or vessel's abandoned status between 20 and 30 days from the date released by law enforcement. All other vehicles or vessels impounded under MCL 257.252d or 80130h, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549 are considered abandoned if not redeemed by the owner within seven days. Vehicles or vessels removed under MCL 257.252a or 80130f, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549 are required to be entered into LEIN within 24 hours.
 

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Which law enforcement agency has jurisdiction if a vehicle or vessel was removed from one jurisdiction and towed to another?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

The jurisdiction of the law enforcement agency from which the vehicle or vessel was towed has jurisdiction.

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Can unclaimed vehicles or vessels that are left in tow yards be considered abandoned?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

Yes. A vehicle or vessel that is not redeemed by the owner and is left in a tow yard owned by a private enterprise can be considered as "abandoned on private property." As such, it will be treated as any other vehicle or vessel abandoned on private property. Enter the vehicle or vessel into LEIN and the Secretary of State will initiate the abandoned vehicle notification process.

 

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Are "impounds" required to be entered into LEIN as abandoned within 24 hours?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

No. If an owner has not redeemed a vehicle or vessel that was removed as a result of a crash, or was stolen or seized to preserve evidence of a crime within 20 days after it has been released by law enforcement it is considered abandoned. The custodian must report the vehicle or vessel's abandoned status between 20 and 30 days from the date released by law enforcement. All other vehicles or vessels impounded under MCL 257.252d or 80130h, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549 are considered abandoned if not redeemed by the owner within seven days. Vehicles or vessels removed under MCL 257.252a or 80130f, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549 are required to be entered into LEIN within 24 hours.
 

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What are my responsibilities if a towing company calls requesting to remove a vehicle or vessel from private property?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

You are required by law to complete a stolen vehicle or vessel check and within 24 hours of taking the vehicle or vessel into custody, enter the vehicle or vessel reported as abandoned into LEIN. However, since the law enforcement agency may be responsible for towing and storage fees if a court determines the vehicle or vessel was incorrectly deemed abandoned, you may wish to check that all legal requirements under MCL 252a, 252b252d or 80130f, 80130g, 80130h, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549 are met.

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How do I report an abandoned vehicle or vessel in LEIN?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

Follow Section 4.4 of the LEIN Operations Manual. If you have additional questions or problems contact the Michigan State Police ELOP (East Lansing Operations).
 

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How do I notify the Secretary of State who has custody of the vehicle or vessel?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

Enter the business telephone number of the custodian, including the area code, in LEIN. The Secretary of State uses the business telephone number to identify the custodian.

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Who is responsible for overseeing abandoned vehicle or vessel auctions?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

The requirements for disposing of abandoned vehicles or vessels through a public sale are found in MCL 257.252g or 80130k, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549. The law enforcement agency is responsible for disposing of the vehicle or vessel, including the public notice, auction, and sale. However, a law enforcement agency may designate the custodian of the vehicle or vessel or a third party to conduct the auction.

The responsibility for checking a vehicle or vessel's status to see if it was stolen before it is offered for sale remains with law enforcement.
 

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When am I required to hold a public sale?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

A public sale is required not less than 20 days after the abandoned vehicle or vessel hearing, or if a hearing is not requested, not less than 20 days from the date of the notice.

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I have not received the TR-52L from the Secretary of State, so how do I dispose of an abandoned vehicle or vessel?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

You may obtain a replacement copy of the Bill of Sale (TR-52L) for a motor vehicle from the Michigan Auto Lost and Found Website.  If you have questions, please contact the Abandoned Vehicle Help Desk at 517-636-5234. 

In some circumstances, a TR-52L may be delayed but will still be sent to the law enforcement agency. For example, the Secretary of State may be researching the ownership of the vehicle or vessel.

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Is it ever necessary to complete and mail a TR-52L to a vehicle or vessel owner?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

No. You do not have to complete or mail an Abandoned Vehicle/Vessel - Bill of Sale form (TR-52L) to the vehicle or vessel owner. Since the law requires that unregistered, abandoned and/or scrap vehicles or vessels be disposed of within 24 hours after taking the vehicle or vessel into custody, you must complete the Certificate of Scrapping form (TR-208). However, notice is not sent to an owner.

Within seven days after you enter the vehicle or vessel into LEIN, the Secretary of State will send the completed TR-52E Notice of Abandonment to the vehicle or vessel owner and any secured parties. The TR-52P Petition for Hearing on Abandoned Vehicle/Vessel will be sent to the vehicle or vessel owner. And a TR-52L Bill of Sale is sent to you.

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How do I handle an abandoned vehicle or vessel titled or registered out-of-state?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

As a courtesy, law enforcement may elect to send a notice of abandonment to out-of-state owners or secured parties informing them that the vehicle or vessel has been abandoned in Michigan. The abandoned vehicle or vessel laws require the Secretary of State to send notice of abandonment to owners and secured parties of record as kept by the Secretary of State for vehicles or vessels in Michigan only. Out-of-state vehicles or vessels must still be entered into LEIN as an abandoned vehicle or vessel and disposed of through the abandoned vehicle or vessel process outlined in MCL 257.252a or 80130f, 81151, and 82161 2014 PA 549.

 

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Should I discard old TR-52 Notices of Abandonment?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

Yes. Law enforcement agencies are instructed to discontinue mailing Abandoned Vehicle/Vessel Notices (TR-52) to vehicle or vessel owners and secured parties. Under the abandoned vehicle or vessel laws, the Secretary of State sends the notices within seven days from the LEIN entry.

At the same time, the department will send a Bill of Sale (TR-52L) to the law enforcement agency that entered the abandoned vehicle or vessel in LEIN. If you need to dispose of the vehicle or vessel immediately (e.g. scrapped), you may complete the Certificate of Scrapping (TR-208).


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Who should I contact if the Secretary of State Website contains incorrect information?

Please note: Vehicle includes motor vehicles, ORVs, and snowmobiles. Vessel includes watercraft.

The Secretary of State receives a weekly ORI update from LEIN/MSP. Your agency must contact the Michigan State Police ELOP (East Lansing Operations) to get the information corrected in LEIN. The Secretary of State's website will be corrected after the next weekly ORI update.

 

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