What are some of the significant things I need to know about the abandoned vehicle or vessel law?

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

Michigan law (MCL 257.252a or, 81151, or 2014 PA 549) presumes that the last owner of record as kept by the Secretary of State of a vehicle is responsible for abandoning a vehicle unless the person provides a record of sale or transfer. Michigan law (80130f 2014 PA 549) presumes that the last titled owner, if there is no titled owner the last registered owner of a vessel, is responsible for abandoning a vessel unless the person provides a record of the transfer of the vessel to another person.  A violation for abandoning a vehicle or vessel may result in a civil infraction and subject the owner to a civil fine of $50 plus costs, state assessments, and other statutory penalties. 

The Secretary of State mails the Notice of Abandoned Vehicle/Vessel form (TR-52E) to the owner and any secured party on record, and maintains the Michigan Auto Lost and Found Website which lists all vehicles that are reported as abandoned by Michigan law enforcement agencies.

A process for addressing abandoned snowmobiles, ORVs, and watercraft was signed into law in 2014 (2014 PA 549).

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