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Repossession Rules: Navigating Notice Requirements to Avoid Legal Pitfalls

by | Dec 12, 2023


[00:00:00] Jim Sorenson: Hello, everybody. I want to welcome you back to our podcast, Banking on Credit Unions. I’m Jim Sorenson, and here with me today is Tyler. Tyler, thank you for joining me.

[00:00:18] Tyler Van Leuven: Thanks for having me, Jim.

[00:00:19] Jim Sorenson: Yeah, excited to have you today. We’re going to be talking about a topic that both you and I have had a lot of experience with.

[00:00:26] It’s a topic that probably we get the most questions on it of all the topics here at our law firm. And we’re going to be dealing with repossessions. In particular, we’re going to be talking about notices related to repossessions. What notices have to be given in a repossession. And probably the one question we get a lot about this is what notice do I need to give to the debtor before we repossess the car?

[00:00:58] So kind of [00:01:00] setting this up, that’s a question we get a lot. What’s kind of our general answer on that?

[00:01:05] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, Jim, our general answer on this is depends on where you are, but for where we practice in Florida and Georgia, there is no state law that requires that you give notice prior to repossessing a vehicle.

[00:01:18] However, if you’re in a different state that may require notice of intent, for instance, I know North Carolina does, or other states, then you may have to do it. Along with, if you have a unique situation in which you’ve been accepting payments along the way, we’ll get into that later, or if your policy requires it.

[00:01:36] Lots of credit unions policies require in advance, you know, that you give a notice prior to repossessing. Typically speaking, I know that we would prefer you not give it to tell them that you’re going to come get the vehicle. But that is the case in many situations. But under Florida and Georgia law, where we practice, there is no state law that requires it.

[00:01:56] It would basically depend upon your [00:02:00] contract, if it had it in it, your policy. Or if you’re outside of Georgia or Florida and there is a specific state statute that addresses that.

[00:02:09] Jim Sorenson: Yeah. And I think this is one that a lot of people in general just don’t understand. They think the law requires some sort of notice, i. e., if you don’t pay, we’re going to come take your car. And of course, as you point out, when you do that a lot of times, that leads to them hiding the car. So, we generally don’t want to say, hey, we’re coming to get the car, or at least that usually isn’t a good tactic or approach. Now… You know, I think you mentioned, obviously, there’s other states that require, notices.

[00:02:42] I mean, what is our advice if we have a client who is in Florida or in Georgia and they need to repossess in, let’s say Wisconsin, you know, how do we handle that? I mean, it’s a lot of times we get the questions, Hey Jim, Hey Tyler, we got a car, we want to repossess it in Wisconsin. [00:03:00] What do we need to do? What’s our advice there?

[00:03:02] Tyler Van Leuven: Our advice is typically you need to contact a lawyer in Wisconsin, especially Wisconsin, because Wisconsin is a terrible state for repossessions. Because if you get burned in Wisconsin, I just know from personal experience, not one that we did, but a client who repossessed without giving the proper notices, you have to give the car back if it hasn’t been sold, refund payments, and or possibly buy them a new car along with statutory penalties and interest.

[00:03:28] So, Wisconsin’s a terrible state. But if you’re in a state outside of Florida, Alabama, Jim and I have relationships and other members of the firm have relationships with many attorneys all over the country for the most part. And we can usually put you in touch with someone who understands how credit unions work and help you find an attorney to seek advice.

[00:03:50] Or if it’s a friend of ours, they may actually give you some just chit chat advice on what’s the best way to handle it, so, that’s what we would recommend.

[00:03:59] Jim Sorenson: Yeah, we’re gonna try [00:04:00] to help you get an attorney in those states and get legal advice. And, you know, I think one of the things that kind of frustrates our clients sometimes is they’ll say, Well, you know, you’ve dealt with this issue before.

[00:04:11] Why can’t you just give me advice? And, you know, I know like I’ve dealt with clients in Georgia having to repossess in South Carolina in referring them to a lawyer and helping them through that process. I have a general knowledge of what these lawyers have told me the law is in South Carolina. But why in those situations will we not still answer their questions and still refer them to a South Carolina lawyer?

[00:04:36] It’s not just because we don’t want to answer their questions.

[00:04:39] Tyler Van Leuven: Right. Well, we’re prevented by the bar rules. Actually, it’s a felony for the unlicensed practice of law in another state. So. Although, I sometimes joke with clients, you know, if you get arrested, I’ll bring you soap on a rope, but I don’t want you to have to send me soap on a rope in South Carolina for committing a felony.

[00:04:58] And we don’t want to lose our [00:05:00] BAR license in Florida or Georgia. We’re both licensed in both states. So, you know, even though we may be somewhat educated about the law in another state, we cannot give legal advice. And of course, sometimes there’s nuances in the law that because we aren’t lawyers in that state, we’ve not fully researched that issue.

[00:05:20] There may be something we just don’t know, and we’ve heard from a lawyer who gave one client advice that in this situation, here’s the answer. But there may be a fact pattern, fact issue that has changed that would cause the advice to be different. So.

[00:05:35] Jim Sorenson: And we certainly understand. I mean, I understand fully that it’s an inconvenience, and it’s a cost.

[00:05:40] But, you know, that’s just, you know, it’s part of doing business. It’s just a business expense. So it’s not worth you running the risk of having significant legal damages From improperly repossessing or giving the [00:06:00] proper, you know, usually it’s a minor thing if you’re giving a notice It’s not that big a deal that it’s not just the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. That’s what I’m basically trying to say.

[00:06:10] Tyler Van Leuven: Yeah. No, I think that’s exactly it. And you know, the way I always try to tell clients is, look, it’s already bad enough. They’re not paying you. It’s already bad enough. You’re going to have to go repossess the car. And we know that most of the time when the lender repossesses the car, that car is not going to sell for what’s owed.

[00:06:28] So there’s going to be a loss. So they’re already looking at a loss. What you don’t want to add to that is giving the debtor the opportunity to sue you because you did not follow the law. And so, you know, we’re always going to side on the side of caution, saying, look, let’s make sure the I’s are dotted, the T’s are crossed, and you have everything correct.

[00:06:51] Jim Sorenson: So what about are there times where in Florida or Georgia, that we would want to, or we would [00:07:00] recommend giving notices?

[00:07:01] Tyler Van Leuven: Florida and Georgia, well, I mean the number one instance is typically where you have a situation where they’re due on the first of the month, and you’ve always accepted payments on the 15th of the month.

[00:07:17] So, in essence, after your course of conduct, you’ve in essence, you have modified or changed the terms of the contract. And that’s definitely an instance where I would highly recommend you give notice to the individual and say, Hey, we got your payment. You paid on the 15th. However, you’re due on the 1st and we will no longer accept payments on the 15th.

[00:07:43] So, that’s a situation. Also, sometimes if you have a death, um, that might be a good opportunity. You know, they may not know if it’s in default. You know, if you have a family member or somebody and maybe they’re willing to, you know, provide for the loan and the, [00:08:00] you know, probate or whatever the situation may be, so.

[00:08:04] Jim Sorenson: So, in those cases where we say give notice, we’re not saying give notice specifically that the car is going to be repossessed. What are we really telling them to give notice about?

[00:08:15] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, we’re giving notice that we’re actually in a default and it’s getting serious. So, and that’s something that you can definitely handle yourself.

[00:08:27] There’s no reason to involve your lawyer on that and we could certainly help you develop a form if you don’t have one, or whoever your lawyer is can help you do that, but that’s really what you’re doing. You’re giving them, you’re not saying we’re coming to get the car, but you’re saying, hey, you’re in default. This is getting serious and, you know, that’s where we’re going.

[00:08:47] Jim Sorenson: So, what about the no more late payments? You mentioned that earlier.

[00:08:53] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, if you do get that notice, you need to give it just once. You can’t all, you say, okay, we’re only gonna accept it [00:09:00] on the first of the month, and the next month comes, you don’t get the payment on the first, and then on the 15th they make the payment, and then you’re like, okay, well, you can’t send that letter every month saying we’re only gonna accept it on the first.

[00:09:13] You gotta be willing to, you know, stand by what you put out there in writing, which is, We’re accepting on the 1st, and if you don’t, you know, pay by, you know, usually you have a 10 day grace period. If they don’t pay within that grace period, in theory, they’re in default, and if they pay on the 15th, you can either put it in their savings account, or you can return the payment to them, or, you know, I prefer you just put it in their share account and not apply it to them, but you definitely need to tell them that you’re not applying it to the loan so that they don’t think that it is being applied.

[00:09:48] Jim Sorenson: So, when we talk about no more late payments, I think this is an area that people get confused about, and of course we’re talking about a situation where the borrower has paid [00:10:00] late consecutive months, and I think sometimes people get confused and they think what we’re talking about is, well they paid late over the life of the loan six or seven times.

[00:10:14] And that’s really different than what we’re talking about. We’re talking about where over the last several months they’ve paid late. And now you’re wanting to hold them accountable and say, look, we can’t continue to let you to pay late. You either have to pay on time or we’re going to place the loan in default.

[00:10:32] We, again, we wouldn’t say go get the car, but we want them to pay on time. So that letter, that no more late payment letter saying, Hey, here’s the line in the sand. You need to pay late. You need to pay on time. You haven’t been paying on time. And so now you have until X date to bring the loan current. And from here on out, you got to pay on time.

[00:10:53] And what you and I have seen and you just mentioned is a lot of times they say [00:11:00] they send that letter and then the next month or two months later, they pay late again and the client allows it to happen which is not the purpose of that letter. So this is one of those situations where if you send that letter, you need to go ahead and follow through with it and have a process and a process or protocol for following through on it.

[00:11:21] Tyler Van Leuven: Yeah, I’d be ready to how you’re going to deal with it because more likely than not, they’re going to pay late. I mean, that’s just what I’ve seen. I mean, it’s, if they’ve paid late for, like Jim said, this isn’t, you know, six times over the course of a, you know, seventy-two month loan. This is, I mean, when I say consecutive late payments, I’m talking usually anywhere from three to six months in a row.

[00:11:43] I mean, two months in, it’s not as critical, but when you start getting ’em three, four, or five months, I mean, that’s a course of conduct on your part and, you know, if you’re wanting to hold them to it and there’s going to be repercussions and you’d be prepared to live by those. So after you send that letter, the [00:12:00] next payment, it’s not due on the first and they don’t pay on the first and you can accelerate the loan and the whole thing’s due.

[00:12:07] Jim Sorenson: So if there’s no intention of repossessing the car, in other words, we really, the client really doesn’t want the car, the lender really doesn’t want the car, then is there any reason to send the no more late notice payment letter?

[00:12:21] Tyler Van Leuven: Yeah. If you’re okay with them paying on the 15th of the month or paying anything, I mean, nowadays, you know, we’ve gotten to the point where, you know, with these times that we’re in and people are economically stressed getting payments if it’s on the 1st or 15th is probably okay but, you know, during the pandemic when cars were worth significantly more than what was owed on them, that was a whole different situation because, you know, we’re probably getting more back to the pre pandemic type situation where you’re getting Anywhere from 60 to 75 percent, you know, cents on the dollar, you know, probably more than 60 to 70 percent on the, you know, cents [00:13:00] on the dollar.

[00:13:00] So it’s a, you know, it more likely not will lead to a loss.

[00:13:05] Jim Sorenson: Yeah. And I just think, you know, if you really don’t want the car, right, if the car isn’t worth repossessing, then, you know, drawing that line in the sand doesn’t make sense because the line in the sand is if you are late again, we’re going to get the car and the way I’ve always described that to clients is look, once they’re outside the grace period, you’re going to repossess the car.

[00:13:30] Otherwise, don’t send that notice. So, I think that’s important that people understand that. And, you know, and it progresses from there. So.

[00:13:39] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, while we’re on that subject, you know, there’s nothing also If someone’s in default and the car is a beater, there’s nothing that says you have to repossess the car.

[00:13:48] You can always just sue on your note and get a judgment. You don’t have to actually repossess the car. But again, if you’ve accepted late payments and, you know, [00:14:00] maybe it’s a little modified late payment letter, but, you know, there’s nothing that requires you either under Florida or Georgia law or the contract that you have to repossess the car.

[00:14:13] Jim Sorenson: Yeah, and I think that’s a good point as well. And that’s a question we get a lot. The car is not worth repossessing. Do I have to repossess it and liquidate it before I sue? And the simple answer is no, you don’t. In Florida and Georgia, you have what’s known as an election of remedies. And so, of course, remedy one is go get the car, liquidate it and then sue for deficiency balance.

[00:14:35] Remedy two is just sue on the note. We lent them 20, 000. They didn’t repay at all. They’re in default and they owe us whatever they owe us.

[00:14:45] Tyler Van Leuven: And this comes up, that issue, I know we’re getting a little bit off topic, but that issue comes up, I would say 90 percent of the time, that issue comes up is where the member’s traveling or in a different state and it gets repossessed or it’s in a repair [00:15:00] shop and you get all of a sudden out of the blue, you get a notice that, you know, I had one of these too a while back it was a car was in Flagstaff, Arizona.

[00:15:10] And the cost to repair it, fix it, and ship it back to Tallahassee, or in this case, ship it to Pensacola, you know, wasn’t worth it. So, and the member did live, actually, still in Florida, but, you know, you have that type of situation as well.

[00:15:28] Jim Sorenson: Yep. So, kind of going back to the notices and talking about notices with repossession. So up to this point, we’ve been talking about kind of pre repossession notices. What about post repossession notices. Are there notices required post repossession?

[00:15:48] Tyler Van Leuven: Yes. These are incredibly important. If you’ve ever heard us talk about these, you know how important we think they are. And they are. They’re required by Florida and Georgia law.

[00:15:58] In Florida you have to [00:16:00] then send a notice of plan to sell property letter. And it has to go. Whether they’re in bankruptcy, dead, alive, you know, on a lunar mission, wherever, you have to send that notice and there’s a statutory form and if you have any question about your letter let us know we’ll look it over because this is where a class action lawsuit can come up in a new york second.

[00:16:22] But in Georgia, it’s a little bit different. In Georgia, you have to send the notice of plan to sell letter as well if you have like a loan line or close in thing, but if you have a retail installment contract in Georgia, you have to send a special letter that requires, it’s a special letter specific to retail installment contracts, and it has a special public notice requirement in it that has to be sent in order to be in compliance with the law.

[00:16:50] Then, you know, then we can talk about after you sell it.

[00:16:53] Jim Sorenson: So, in sending that letter, the notice of intent sale letter, how should that [00:17:00] letter be sent?

[00:17:00] Tyler Van Leuven: It should be a certified return receipt. It should be sent to anybody who have, or has an interest in the vehicle, if there’s. And the letter also requires in it that if you’re, let’s say you have a husband, a wife, or a brother and sister, one letter will say it’s also being sent to my brother Johnny Lunchbucket, and the letter to Susie Q will say it’s being sent to, you know, to the, it requires you put that notice in there and without a doubt they should be sent certified return receipt and if at all possible if it comes back.

[00:17:35] You try to save the green card, and if it comes back as unclaimed, you know, where they stamped it, and they put first attempt, second attempt, third attempt, under the law, that’s deemed, acceptance. That’s pretty much acceptance, the refusal to accept the letter is deemed acceptance. Now, if it comes back unclaimed, or there’s a forwarding address, I would definitely send a second letter to the forwarding [00:18:00] address.

[00:18:00] If it’s on there or if you have knowledge as to where someone else may be, send it there because the law requires that you have a reasonable attempt to provide the notice. And I can only imagine what would happen if you’re on the stand and you say, Oh, I got this letter back and there’s a foreign address on it, but I just didn’t bother doing it because I’m not going to send two letters.

[00:18:21] Again, that’s not worth the risk.

[00:18:23] Jim Sorenson: So, just to reiterate, the letter should go to everybody who is obligated on the loan, anyone who is signed on the loan, so borrower, co borrowers, guarantors, and to anybody who’s on the title including second lien holders, which is one that sometimes our clients forget under both Florida and Georgia law, that’s who gets it.

[00:18:45] Now, what and of course you’ve mentioned, we need to keep records of all of this because these are compliance requirements. And so, you know, these are things that if you’re going to pursue a deficiency judgment, you have to prove [00:19:00] compliance with the law. And of course, if someone were to sue claiming you didn’t give notice, you would need those records to show you did.

[00:19:07] Yeah. So beyond that notice, is there any other notices that have to be given?

[00:19:14] Tyler Van Leuven: In order to get the title or notices to the member?

[00:19:16] Jim Sorenson: Regarding repossessions in general. What about once the vehicle is sold?

[00:19:20] Tyler Van Leuven: Oh, yeah. I mean, once the vehicle has been sold. Well, prior to the vehicle being sold, also in order to sell the vehicle, more likely than not, you’re going to have to file an affidavit of repossession with DMV to get a clean title if there’s a subsequent lien holder.

[00:19:34] And in Georgia, they have a similar type affidavit that goes to the Department of Revenue, which is Georgia’s version of the DMV. And those will allow you to get the repossession title, but once the vehicle has been sold, you have to give the explanation of deficiency letter, and that’s required both in Florida and Georgia, and that is important because if you, for instance, if [00:20:00] you don’t give the explanation of deficiency letter and you find in a later, or the person’s deceased or you find out they’re deceased, you can’t file a statement of claim.

[00:20:08] You also can’t sue them for a deficiency judgment if you haven’t given the explanation of deficiency and or surplus. We don’t have many surplus issues lately but now if they’re in bankruptcy it’s questionable and you may not have to give the explanation of deficiency but if there is a surplus you will definitely have to still give that notice and you’ll have to either most likely reach out to your attorney and we’ll advise you on whether that goes out to the member themselves I’m sorry, the member, if they’re represented by counsel or bankruptcy attorney or the trustee.

[00:20:44] Jim Sorenson: Now, are those, is that letter also one we recommend to go via certified mail return receipt?

[00:20:50] Tyler Van Leuven: Yes.

[00:20:51] Jim Sorenson: So, what are some of the mistakes that you’ve seen clients make regarding repossessions and notices and kind of [00:21:00] what’s the outcome of those?

[00:21:01] I think you kind of alluded to one earlier with the Wisconsin reference and a client that repossessed in Wisconsin without complying with the law. But what are some other examples we’ve seen, you know, in our career? You’ve been doing this for

[00:21:16] Tyler Van Leuven: 21 years

[00:21:16] Jim Sorenson: 21 years. I’ve been doing this for a little bit longer than that. I’ve been doing this for going on almost 28 years which I’m 22 and a half. So, but what are some of the things that that we’ve seen over the years where, you know, clients not following these processes, not doing it right. What can happen?

[00:21:38] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, one is a retail installment contract. I mean, death is not a fault in a retail installment contract. So that’s one big issue. And then the second issue, obviously is if they’re not actually in default, I mean.

[00:21:53] Jim Sorenson: So repossessing a car without them being in default.

[00:21:56] Tyler Van Leuven: Yeah, I mean that’s, there are [00:22:00] situations where that has happened, and lots of times it’s early on in the loan process where the loan wasn’t properly booked at the Craton, or, the insurance wasn’t properly documented, you know, failure to have insurance, or some along those lines, but that, you know, the number one thing though is not sending the proper notice of plans to sell property.

[00:22:22] If you don’t do that, and a good consumer attorney gets hold of it, They will assume that, more than likely than not, there’s more than one of these, and lots of times, there is more than one.

[00:22:37] Jim Sorenson: Yeah, the the notice of sale, notice of intent to sale letter is one of those where, over and over again, we’ve seen clients make the mistake of modifying that letter, or using an out of compliance letter, and, like you indicated, it gets used over and over again.

[00:22:58] And lo and [00:23:00] behold, a lawyer gets a hold of it, sees it, realizes it’s out of compliance, and figures, well, if you sent it to their client, Susie, out of compliance, how many other people did you send it out of compliance? And they start looking at class actions, and so, you know, our number one advice, and Tyler’s already mentioned this, is, you know, you need to have your letter looked at, and you need to make sure you know you’re using the right letter, and in Florida and in Georgia, there’s a sample statutory notice, statutory form notice, so you can literally copy the notice out of the statute and use that, but for some reason, over and over again, credit unions, collection managers, collection supervisors, people in collection departments decide, I’m going to modify the letter.

[00:23:48] What can be the harm of changing some wording? And usually, the harm is they’ve taken something out of the letter that needs to be there.

[00:23:55] Tyler Van Leuven: Yes. And, you know, the examples I’ve seen is, oh, I’ll [00:24:00] get it on one page. Or, you know, because the way our letterhead is, you know, it’s only going to be one page. Or, why does it say in there three different times, you know, you know, to contact the credit union, you know, at this address?

[00:24:13] What, I don’t know why it says that. I don’t like that. I mean, you’d think once would be good, but at least twice it says in there. So, but that’s important. And by leaving that out, it will expose your you get exposed to some liability, and it’s a significant liability at that.

[00:24:30] Jim Sorenson: So, what are some of the best practices for a credit union to avoid liability around these issues, around repossessions, around notices?

[00:24:40] You know, what are the steps that they should be taking to make sure they don’t come into harm’s way and aren’t faced with a class action lawsuit or just any lawsuit? From a member, borrower, where they’ve repossessed the car or threatened repossession.

[00:24:56] Tyler Van Leuven: Well, I think I first would look at your policies and develop a [00:25:00] good, strong policy that deals with your in state repossessions and I would maybe have a policy that deals with what do you do with regarding out of state repossessions and how, the checklist of how you go through to address those.

[00:25:14] I would get my attorney, or whoever your attorney is, to review your letters at least once a year, and get a written opinion on them. It’s not a big deal for us to do it, I mean it, I could tell you what the letter says almost verbatim. I’ve seen it so many times, but it doesn’t take me but, or Jim, or pretty much any lawyer in this firm about a half a second to figure out if it’s out of compliance.

[00:25:35] I would also develop how you’re going to deal with various situations. For instance, one that drives me crazy is voluntary repossessions. I think it’s best, I mean, even if you get a voluntary repo letter, or voluntary repossession agreement signed, it needs to be signed by both the borrowers if you get one or not just one of them.

[00:25:58] But, [00:26:00] even if you get that, in my personal opinion, you should still follow the process of sending a notice of plan to sell letter, and you do it the same every single time, whether they’re dead, live, even if you have the voluntary agreement. I know it saves time and effort, but if you always follow the same procedure, if any issue ever comes up, you’ll never have, you’ll say it.

[00:26:23] This is our policy. This is our procedure, and we do it every single time. A voluntary repossession agreement is obviously a very good thing to have, and if you’re in a time crunch, it would save you the possibility of having to send those letters, I mean, if you have a proper voluntary repossession agreement.

[00:26:41] And it’s also helpful when we go to file suit on a deficiency because they acknowledge that they’re liable for any debt that may, you know, may occur as a, you know. When you’re repossessing the car, if you can get pictures of the condition of the vehicle, anything that’s missing. I mean, I [00:27:00] had a case not too long ago where the member came in and they testified, you know, it’s in perfect shape.

[00:27:05] I can’t understand why I only got 5, 000 for the 15, 000 car. Look, if so, and so I said, well, your honor, I understand that, but here’s the conditioner port and it was missing the left mirror. It was missing the rear windshield. Didn’t have a single door handle on the car. I mean, I don’t, you know, you can imagine how that ended up for the member.

[00:27:27] Jim Sorenson: Yeah. So like you said, I think, you know, the key is, Good procedures, good policies, good procedures, making sure that those procedures and policies are detailed, follow the law, that your forms and notices are reviewed by a lawyer annually. I know clients balk at that. They think that’s expensive. We don’t need to pay a lawyer annually.

[00:27:51] Well, again, one of these mistakes. One letter out of form can cost you easily, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, [00:28:00] especially when you use that form or letter over and over again. And then I think, you know, lastly which we’ve not mentioned but I want to mention before we end today is education and training for your staff.

[00:28:12] I mean, your staff has to understand not just, hey, these are the procedures and these are the forms. They need to understand the why. Because otherwise, again, that’s where it leads to people cutting corners. Oh, this isn’t a big, this isn’t important, this step seems unnecessary, this seems like busy work.

[00:28:30] And I think people need to understand the why. Why do we have to do it this way? Why do we have to send this letter like this? Why does this letter read this way? Education is such a key and so many times that education is not happening. The supervisors, the managers aren’t teaching their employees, hey, we use this form because it’s a statutory form and we don’t deviate from it.

[00:28:55] And those types of training can be done obviously in house. We also [00:29:00] can assist in providing that training. We do training events for clients. We have our annual client training event. We do a lot of training virtually through Zoom and other platforms. So there’s opportunities for the staff to get trained.

[00:29:15] It’s just the managers and the supervisors need to make sure it happens. And, of course, with turnover, that means you got new people to train. So, all very important, but obviously in the credit union world, these are issues we deal with every day. So, Tyler, I appreciate you coming on the show today and imparting some of your wisdom to our clients and your 20 plus years of dealing with this.

[00:29:40] And hopefully someone listening to this podcast, we’ve saved them the heartache of Violating the law and having to pay the debtor a bunch of money and on top of that not getting to collect What that debtor or borrow rose so you can pay your attorney a bunch of money. So yeah, exactly So, [00:30:00] thanks again, Tyler we’ll have you on the show again soon

Have you ever wondered about the legal notice requirements around repossession of vehicles? In this eye-opening episode of Banking on Credit Unions, Attorneys Jim Sorensen and Tyler Van Leuven peel back the curtain on repossession rules. Get the inside scoop on critical notice procedures and how to avoid costly legal pitfalls.

Repossessing a vehicle is complicated enough without adding lawsuits into the mix. Tune in as Attorneys Jim and Tyler demystify the repossession notice laws in Florida and Georgia. Learn exactly what notices must be given before and after repossession. They also share common mistakes to avoid and best practices for compliance. Now you can reclaim vehicles properly and steer clear of trouble.

If you lend money for vehicles, this episode is mandatory listening. Attorneys Jim and Tyler break down need-to-know repossession guidelines that keep you on the right side of the law. Gain peace of mind by understanding notice requirements. Don’t miss these pro tips for avoiding legal pitfalls!

Other subjects we covered on the show:

  • Reasons when notice should be given in FL/GA before repossession, like accepting late payments or after a death.
  • Details on the “no more late payments” notice and when it should be sent.
  • Explanation of the notices required after repossession in FL/GA – Notice of Intent to Sell and Explanation of Deficiency.
  • Importance of sending notices by certified mail with return receipt to all obligors.
  • Common mistakes like improper notices or repossessing without valid default.
  • Tips for best practices such as annual legal review of documents, detailed procedures, and staff training.
  • Options besides repossession like suing on the note if the car isn’t worth taking.
  • Guidance on out-of-state repossessions and checking local laws.
  • Examples of lawsuits and damages that can happen with improper notices.
  • Discussion on voluntary repossession agreements and process recommendations.


You can check out the full episode and subscribe at

If you want to know more about the SVL Law Team, reach out at

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