<<Back

Historical Rule for the Texas Administrative Code

TITLE 43TRANSPORTATION
PART 10TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
CHAPTER 217VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION
SUBCHAPTER AMOTOR VEHICLE CERTIFICATES OF TITLE
RULE §217.3Motor Vehicle Certificates of Title

(a) Certificates of title. Unless otherwise exempted by law or this chapter, the owner of any motor vehicle that is required to be registered in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 502, shall apply for a Texas certificate of title in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 501.

  (1) Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, and mopeds.

    (A) The title requirements of a motorcycle are the same requirements prescribed for any motor vehicle.

    (B) A motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or moped designed for or used exclusively on golf courses is not classified as a motor vehicle and, therefore, title cannot be issued until the unit is registered.

    (C) A vehicle that meets the criteria for a moped and has been certified as a moped by the Department of Public Safety will be registered and titled as a moped. If the vehicle does not appear on the list of certified mopeds published by that agency, the vehicle will be treated as a motorcycle for title and registration purposes.

    (D) A motor installed on a bicycle must be certified by the Department of Public Safety before the vehicle may be classified as a moped.

  (2) Farm vehicles.

    (A) The term motor vehicle does not apply to implements of husbandry, which may not be titled.

    (B) Farm tractors owned by agencies exempt from registration fees in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.202, are required to be titled and registered with "Exempt" license plates issued in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.201.

    (C) Farm tractors used as road tractors to mow rights of way or used to move commodities over the highway for hire are required to be registered and titled.

    (D) Farm semitrailers with a gross weight of more than 4,000 pounds that are registered in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.504 may be issued Texas certificates of title.

  (3) Neighborhood electric vehicles.

    (A) The title requirements of a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) are the same requirements prescribed for any motor vehicle.

    (B) A "neighborhood electric vehicle" is a motor vehicle that:

      (i) is originally manufactured to meet, and meets, the equipment requirements and safety standards established for "low speed vehicles" in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500 (49 C.F.R. §571.500);

      (ii) is a slow moving vehicle, as defined by Transportation Code, §547.001 that is able to attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour, but not more than 25 miles per hour in one mile on a paved, level surface;

      (iii) is a four-wheeled motor vehicle;

      (iv) is powered by electricity or alternative power sources;

      (v) has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 3,000 pounds; and

      (vi) is not a golf cart as defined in Transportation Code, §502.001(7).

  (4) Exemptions from title. Vehicles registered with the following distinguishing license plates may not be titled under Transportation Code, Chapter 501:

    (A) vehicles eligible for machinery license plates and permit license plates in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.504; and

    (B) vehicles eligible for farm trailer license plates in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.163, unless the owner chooses to title a farm semitrailer as provided by Transportation Code, §501.036.

  (5) Trailers, semitrailers, and house trailers. Owners of trailers and semitrailers shall apply for and receive a Texas certificate of title for any stand alone (full) trailer, including homemade full trailers, or any semitrailer having a gross weight in excess of 4,000 pounds. Farm semitrailers with a gross weight of more than 4,000 pounds that are registered in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.504, may be issued Texas certificates of title. House trailer-type vehicles must meet the criteria outlined in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph to be titled.

    (A) In the absence of a manufacturer's rated carrying capacity for a trailer or semitrailer, the rated carrying capacity will not be less than one-third of its empty weight.

    (B) Mobile office trailers, mobile oil field laboratories, and mobile oil field bunkhouses are not designed as dwellings, but are classified as commercial semitrailers and must be registered and titled as commercial semitrailers if operated on the public streets and highways.

    (C) House trailer-type vehicles and camper trailers must meet the following criteria in order to be titled.

      (i) A house trailer-type vehicle designed for living quarters and that is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length (not including the hitch), is classified as a manufactured home or mobile home and is titled under the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act, Occupations Code, Chapter 1201, administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

      (ii) A house trailer-type vehicle that is less than eight feet in width and less than forty feet in length is classified as a travel trailer and shall be registered and titled.

      (iii) A camper trailer shall be titled as a house trailer and shall be registered with travel trailer license plates.

      (iv) A recreational park model type trailer that is primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping or seasonal use, is built on a single chassis, and is 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection when in the set up mode shall be titled as a house trailer and may be issued travel trailer license plates. If the park model type trailer exceeds one hundred two inches in width or forty feet in length, the title will include a brand to indicate that an oversize permit must be obtained to move the trailer on the public roads.

(b) Initial application for certificate of title.

  (1) Time for application. A person must apply for the certificate of title within 20 working days after the date of receiving the transfer documents, except:

    (A) that in a seller-financed sale, the certificate of title must be applied for not later than the 45th day after the date the motor vehicle is delivered to the purchaser; or

    (B) as provided by §215.144(e) of this title (relating to Record of Sales and Inventory).

  (2) Place of application. When motor vehicle ownership is transferred, a certificate of title application must be filed with the county tax assessor-collector in the county in which the applicant resides or in the county in which the motor vehicle was purchased or encumbered, as selected by the applicant, except:

    (A) as provided by Transportation Code, Chapters 501 and 502 and by §217.63(a) of this chapter (relating to Application for Non-repairable or Salvage Vehicle Title); or

    (B) if a county has been declared a disaster area, the resident may apply at the closest unaffected county if the affected county tax assessor-collector estimates the county offices will be inoperable for a protracted period.

  (3) Information to be included on application. An applicant for an initial certificate of title must file an application on a form prescribed by the department. The form will at a minimum require the:

    (A) motor vehicle description including, but not limited to, the motor vehicle's:

      (i) year;

      (ii) make;

      (iii) model;

      (iv) identification number;

      (v) body style;

      (vi) manufacturer's rated carrying capacity in tons for commercial motor vehicles; and

      (vii) empty weight;

    (B) license plate number, if the motor vehicle is subject to registration under Transportation Code, Chapter 502;

    (C) odometer reading and brand, or the word "exempt" if the motor vehicle is exempt from federal and state odometer disclosure requirements;

    (D) previous owner's name and city and state of residence;

    (E) name and complete address of the applicant;

    (F) name and mailing address of any lienholder and the date of lien, if applicable;

    (G) signature of the seller of the motor vehicle or the seller's authorized agent and the date the certificate of title application was signed; and

    (H) signature of the applicant or the applicant's authorized agent and the date the certificate of title application was signed.

  (4) Serial number. If no serial number is die-stamped by the manufacturer on a motor vehicle, house trailer, trailer, semitrailer, or item of equipment required to be titled, or if the serial number assigned and die-stamped by the manufacturer has been lost, removed, or obliterated, the department will on proper application, presentation of evidence of ownership, and presentation of evidence of a law enforcement physical inspection, assign a serial number to the motor vehicle, trailer, or equipment. The manufacturer's serial number or the assigned serial number will be used by the department as the major identification of the motor vehicle or trailer in the issuance of a certificate of title.

  (5) Accompanying documentation. The certificate of title application must be supported by, at a minimum, the following documents:

    (A) evidence of vehicle ownership, as described in subsection (c) of this section;

    (B) an odometer disclosure statement properly executed by the seller of the motor vehicle and acknowledged by the purchaser, if applicable;

    (C) proof of financial responsibility in the applicant's name, as required by Transportation Code, §502.153, unless otherwise exempted by law;

    (D) an identification certificate if required by Transportation Code, §548.256, and Transportation Code, §501.030, and if the vehicle is being titled and registered, or registered only; and

    (E) a release of any liens, provided that if any liens are not released, they will be carried forward on the new certificate of title application with the following limitations.

      (i) A lien recorded on out-of-state evidence as described in subsection (c) of this section cannot be carried forward to a Texas title when there is a transfer of ownership, unless a release of lien or authorization from the lienholder is attached.

      (ii) A lien recorded on out-of-state evidence as described in subsection (c) of this section is not required to be released when there is no transfer of ownership from an out-of-state title and the same lienholder is being recorded on the Texas application as is recorded on the out-of-state title.

(c) Evidence of motor vehicle ownership. Evidence of motor vehicle ownership properly assigned to the applicant must accompany the certificate of title application. Evidence must include, but is not limited to, the following documents.

  (1) New motor vehicles. A manufacturer's certificate of origin assigned by the manufacturer or the manufacturer's representative or distributor to the original purchaser is required for a new motor vehicle that is sold or offered for sale.

    (A) The manufacturer's certificate of origin must be in the form prescribed by the division director and must contain, at a minimum, the following information:

      (i) motor vehicle description including, but not limited to, the motor vehicle's year, make, model, identification number, body style and empty weight;

      (ii) the manufacturer's rated carrying capacity in tons when the manufacturer's certificate of origin is invoiced to a licensed Texas motor vehicle dealer and is issued for commercial motor vehicles as that term is defined in Transportation Code, Chapter 502;

      (iii) a statement identifying a motor vehicle designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use only; and

      (iv) if the vehicle is a "neighborhood electric vehicle", a statement that the vehicle meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500 (49 C.F.R. §571.500) for low-speed vehicles.

    (B) When a motor vehicle manufactured in another country is sold directly to a person other than a manufacturer's representative or distributor, the manufacturer's certificate of origin must be assigned to the purchaser by the seller.

  (2) Used motor vehicles. A certificate of title issued by the department, a certificate of title issued by another state if the motor vehicle was last registered and titled in another state, or other evidence of ownership must be relinquished in support of the certificate of title application for any used motor vehicle. A letter of Title and Registration verification is required from a vehicle owner coming from a state that no longer titles vehicles after a certain period of time.

  (3) Motor vehicles brought into the United States. An application for certificate of title for a motor vehicle last registered or titled in a foreign country must be supported by documents including, but not limited to, the following:

    (A) the motor vehicle registration certificate or other verification issued by a foreign country reflecting the name of the applicant as the motor vehicle owner, or reflecting that legal evidence of ownership has been legally assigned to the applicant;

    (B) verification of the vehicle identification number of the vehicle, on a form prescribed by the department, executed by a member of:

      (i) the National Insurance Crime Bureau;

      (ii) the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or

Cont'd...

Next Page

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page