Historical Rule for the Texas Administrative Code

RULE §217.3Motor Vehicle Certificates of Title

      (i) the original bond release letter with all attachments advising that the motor vehicle meets federal motor vehicle safety requirements or a letter issued by the USDOT, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, verifying the issuance of the original bond release letter;

      (ii) a legible copy of the motor vehicle importation form validated with an original United States Customs stamp, date, and signature as filed with the USDOT confirming the exemption from the bond release letter required in clause (i) of this subparagraph, or a copy thereof certified by United States Customs;

      (iii) a verification of motor vehicle inspection by United States Customs certified on its letterhead and signed by its agent verifying that the motor vehicle complies with USDOT regulations;

      (iv) a written confirmation that a physical inspection of the safety certification label has been made by the department and that the motor vehicle meets United States motor vehicle safety standards;

      (v) the original bond release letter, verification thereof, or written confirmation from the previous state verifying that a bond release letter issued by the USDOT was relinquished to that jurisdiction, if the non United States standard motor vehicle was last titled or registered in another state for one year or less; or

      (vi) verification from the vehicle manufacturer on its letterhead stationary.

  (4) Alterations to documentation. An alteration to a registration receipt, certificate of title, manufacturer's certificate, or other evidence of ownership constitutes a valid reason for the rejection of any transaction to which altered evidence is attached.

    (A) Altered lien information on any surrendered evidence of ownership requires a release from the original lienholder or a statement from the proper authority of the state in which the lien originated. The statement must verify the correct lien information.

    (B) A strikeover that leaves any doubt about the legibility of any digit in any document will not be accepted.

    (C) A corrected manufacturer's certificate of origin will be required if the manufacturer's certificate of origin contains an:

      (i) incomplete or altered vehicle identification number;

      (ii) alteration or strikeover of the vehicle's model year;

      (iii) alteration or strikeover to the body style, or omitted body style on the manufacturer's certificate of origin; or

      (iv) alteration or strikeover to the manufacturer's rated carrying capacity.

    (D) A Statement of Fact may be requested to explain errors, corrections, or conditions from which doubt does or could arise concerning the legality of any instrument. A Statement of Fact will be required in all cases:

      (i) in which the date of sale on an assignment has been erased or altered in any manner; or

      (ii) of alteration or erasure on a Dealer's Reassignment of Title.

  (5) Rights of survivorship. A signed "rights of survivorship" agreement may be executed by a natural person acting in an individual capacity in accordance with Transportation Code, §501.031.

(d) Certificate of title issuance.

  (1) Issuance. The department or its designated agent will issue a receipt and process the application for certificate of title on receipt of:

    (A) a completed application for certificate of title;

    (B) accompanying documentation required by subsections (b)(4) and (c) of this section;

    (C) the statutory fee for a title application, unless exempt under:

      (i) Transportation Code, §501.138; or

      (ii) Government Code, §431.039 and copies of official military orders are presented as evidence of the applicant's active duty status and deployment orders to a hostile fire zone; and

    (D) any other applicable fees.

  (2) Titles. The department will issue and mail or deliver a certificate of title to the applicant or, in the event that there is a lien disclosed in the application, to the first lienholder.

  (3) Receipt. The receipt issued at the time of application for title may be used only as evidence of title and may not be used to transfer any interest or ownership in a motor vehicle or to establish a new lien.

(e) Replacement of certificate of title. If a certificate of title is lost or destroyed, the department will issue a certified copy of the title to the owner, the lienholder, or a verified agent of the owner or lienholder in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 501, on proper application and payment of the appropriate fee to the department.

  (1) Certified copy.

    (A) Issuance. An application for a certified copy must be properly executed and supported by appropriate verifiable proof for the vehicle owner, lienholder, or agent regardless of whether the application is submitted in person or by mail.

      (i) If the applicant requests that a certified copy be issued before the fourth business day following application, the application must be made in person.

      (ii) An applicant other than the vehicle owner, lienholder, or verified agent must apply for a certified copy of a certificate of title by mail.

    (B) Denial. If issuance of a certified copy is denied, the applicant may resubmit the request with the required verifiable proof or may pursue the privileges available in subsection (g)(2)(A) and (B) of this section.

  (2) Certified copy designation. A certified copy of an existing certificate of title will be marked "Certified Copy" until ownership of the vehicle is transferred, when the words "Certified Copy" will be eliminated from the new certificate of title.

  (3) Fees. The fee for obtaining a certified copy of a certificate of title is $2.00 if the application is submitted to the department by mail and $5.45 if the application is submitted in person for expedited processing at one of the department's regional offices.

(f) Department notification of second hand vehicle transfers. A transferor of a motor vehicle may voluntarily make written notification to the department of the sale of the vehicle, in accordance with Transportation Code, §520.023. The written notification may be submitted to the department by mail, in person at one of the department's regional offices, or electronically through the department's Internet website.

  (1) Records. On receipt of written notice of transfer from the transferor of a motor vehicle, the department will mark its records to indicate the date of transfer and will maintain a record of the information provided on the written notice of transfer.

  (2) Certificate of title issuance. A certificate of title will not be issued in the name of a transferee until the transferee files an application for the certificate of title as described in this section.

(g) Suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue Certificates of Title.

  (1) Grounds for title suspension, revocation, or refusal to issue. The department will refuse issuance of a certificate of title, or having issued a certificate of title, will suspend or revoke the certificate of title if the:

    (A) application contains any false or fraudulent statement;

    (B) applicant has failed to furnish required information requested by the department;

    (C) applicant is not entitled to the issuance of a certificate of title under Transportation Code, Chapter 501;

    (D) department has reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle is a stolen or converted vehicle or that the issuance of a certificate of title would constitute a fraud against the rightful owner or a lienholder;

    (E) registration of the vehicle stands suspended or revoked; or

    (F) required fee has not been paid.

  (2) Contested case procedure. Any person who has an interest in a motor vehicle to which the department has refused to issue a certificate of title or has suspended or revoked the certificate of title may contest the department's decision in accordance with Transportation Code, §501.052 and §501.053, in the following manner.

    (A) Hearing. Any person who has an interest in a motor vehicle to which the department has refused to issue a certificate of title or has suspended or revoked the certificate of title may apply for a hearing to the designated agent of the county in which the applicant resides. At the hearing the applicant and the department may submit evidence, and a ruling of the designated agent will bind both parties. An applicant wishing to appeal the ruling of the designated agent may do so to the County Court of the county in which the applicant resides.

    (B) Alternative to hearing. In lieu of a hearing, any person who has an interest in a motor vehicle to which the department has refused to issue a certificate of title or has suspended or revoked a certificate of title may file a bond with the department, in an amount equal to one and one-half times the value of the vehicle as determined by the department, and in a form prescribed by the department. On the filing of the bond, the department may issue a certificate of title. The bond shall expire three years after the date it becomes effective and will be returned to the person posting bond, on expiration, unless the department has been notified of the pendency of an action to recover on the bond.

(h) Discharge of lien. A lienholder shall provide the owner, or the owner's designee, a discharge of the lien after receipt of the final payment within the time limits specified in Transportation Code, Chapter 501. The lienholder shall submit one of the following documents:

  (1) the certificate of title including an authorized signature in the space reserved for release of lien;

  (2) a release of lien form prescribed by the department, with the form filled out to include the:

    (A) certificate of title or document number, or a description of the motor vehicle including, but not limited to, the motor vehicle's:

      (i) year;

      (ii) make;

      (iii) vehicle identification number; and

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

    (B) printed name of lienholder;

    (C) signature of lienholder or an authorized agent;

    (D) printed name of the authorized agent if the agent's signature is shown;

    (E) telephone number of lienholder; and

    (F) date signed by the lienholder;

  (3) signed and dated correspondence submitted on company letterhead that includes:

    (A) a statement that the lien has been paid;

    (B) a description of the vehicle as indicated in paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection;

    (C) a certificate of title or document number; or

    (D) lien information;

  (4) any out-of-state prescribed release of lien form, including an executed release on a lien entry form;

  (5) out-of-state evidence with the word "Paid" or "Lien Satisfied" stamped or written in longhand on the face, followed by the name of the lienholder, countersigned or initialed by an agent, and dated; or

  (6) original security agreements or copies of the original security agreements if the originals or copies are stamped "Paid" or "Lien Satisfied" with a company paid stamp or if they contain a statement in longhand that the lien has been paid followed by the company's name.

Source Note: The provisions of this §217.3 adopted to be effective March 4, 2010, 35 TexReg 1761

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