Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 3. REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES AND CERTIFICATES OF TITLE [4000 - 9808]

  ( Division 3 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 2. Transfers of Title or Interest [5600 - 6105]

  ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 3. Notice and Application [5900 - 5912]
  ( Article 3 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

5900.
  

(a) Whenever the owner of a vehicle registered under this code sells or transfers his or her title or interest in, and delivers the possession of, the vehicle to another, the owner shall, within five calendar days, notify the department of the sale or transfer giving the date thereof, the name and address of the owner and of the transferee, and the description of the vehicle that is required in the appropriate form provided for that purpose by the department.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (c), pursuant to subsection (a) of Section 32705 of Title 49 of the United States Code, the owner shall also notify the department of the actual mileage of the vehicle as indicated by the vehicle’s odometer at the time of sale or transfer. However, if the vehicle owner has knowledge that the mileage displayed on the odometer is incorrect, the owner shall indicate on the appropriate form the true mileage, if known, of the vehicle at the time of sale or transfer.

Providing false or inaccurate mileage is not a violation of this subdivision unless it is done with the intent to defraud.

(c) If the registered owner is not in possession of the vehicle that is sold or transferred, the person in physical possession of that vehicle shall give the notice required by subdivisions (a) and (b). If the registered owner sells or transfers the vehicle through a dealer conducting a wholesale motor vehicle auction, the owner shall furnish the information required by subdivisions (a) and (b) to that dealer.

(Amended by Stats. 2000, Ch. 1035, Sec. 11. Effective January 1, 2001.)

5901.
  

(a) Every dealer or lessor-retailer, upon transferring by sale, lease, or otherwise any vehicle, whether new or used, of a type subject to registration under this code, shall, not later than the end of the fifth calendar day thereafter not counting the day of sale, give written notice of the transfer to the department at its headquarters upon an appropriate form provided by it.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision or in subdivision (c), the dealer or lessor-retailer shall enter on the form and pursuant to Section 32705(a) of Title 49 of the United States Code, on the ownership certificate, the actual mileage of the vehicle as indicated by the vehicle’s odometer at the time of the transfer. However, if the vehicle dealer or lessor-retailer has knowledge that the mileage displayed on the odometer is incorrect, the licensee shall indicate on the form on which the mileage is entered that the mileage registered by the odometer is incorrect. A vehicle dealer or lessor-retailer need not give the notice when selling or transferring a new unregistered vehicle to a dealer or lessor-retailer.

(c) When the dealer or lessor-retailer is not in possession of the vehicle that is sold or transferred, the person in physical possession of the vehicle shall give the information required by subdivision (b).

(d) A sale is deemed completed and consummated when the purchaser of the vehicle has paid the purchase price, or, in lieu thereof, has signed a purchase contract or security agreement, and has taken physical possession or delivery of the vehicle.

(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2019, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 90, Sec. 19. (AB 516) Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2019, by its own provisions. See later operative version added by Sec. 20 of Stats. 2016, Ch. 90.)

5901.
  

(a) Every dealer or lessor-retailer, upon transferring by sale, lease, or otherwise any vehicle, whether new or used, of a type subject to registration under this code, shall, not later than the end of the fifth calendar day thereafter not counting the day of sale, give notice of the transfer to the department electronically in a manner approved by the department.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision or in subdivision (c), the dealer or lessor-retailer shall enter on the form and pursuant to Section 32705(a) of Title 49 of the United States Code, on the ownership certificate, the actual mileage of the vehicle as indicated by the vehicle’s odometer at the time of the transfer. However, if the vehicle dealer or lessor-retailer has knowledge that the mileage displayed on the odometer is incorrect, the licensee shall indicate on the form on which the mileage is entered that the mileage registered by the odometer is incorrect. A vehicle dealer or lessor-retailer need not give the notice when selling or transferring a new unregistered vehicle to a dealer or lessor-retailer.

(c) When the dealer or lessor-retailer is not in possession of the vehicle that is sold or transferred, the person in physical possession of the vehicle shall give the information required by subdivision (b).

(d) A sale is deemed completed and consummated when the purchaser of the vehicle has paid the purchase price, or, in lieu thereof, has signed a purchase contract or security agreement, and has taken physical possession or delivery of the vehicle.

(e) This section shall become operative January 1, 2019.

(Repealed (in Sec. 19) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 90, Sec. 20. (AB 516) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2019, by its own provisions.)

5902.
  

Whenever any person has received as transferee a properly endorsed certificate of ownership, that person shall, within 10 days thereafter, forward the certificate with the proper transfer fee to the department and thereby make application for a transfer of registration. The certificate of ownership shall contain a space for the applicant’s driver’s license or identification card number, and the applicant shall furnish that number, if any, in the space provided.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 826, Sec. 18. Effective January 1, 2002.)

5902.5.
  

(a) If an application for a registration transaction is filed with the department during the 30 days immediately preceding the date of expiration of registration of the vehicle, the application shall be accompanied by the full renewal fees for the ensuing registration year in addition to any other fees that are due and payable.

(b) The requirements of subdivision (a) shall not apply if the expiration of registration occurs on or after July 1, 2011. This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2012.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 21, Sec. 5. (SB 94) Effective May 4, 2011.)

5903.
  

When the department receives a copy of the judgment of abandonment and evidence of sale as specified in Section 798.61 of the Civil Code, the department shall transfer the registration of the trailer coach or recreational vehicle which has been deemed abandoned pursuant to that section, or reregister the trailer coach or vehicle under a new registration number, and issue a new certificate of ownership and registration card to the person or persons presenting the copy of the judgment of abandonment and evidence of sale to the department.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 564, Sec. 2.)

5904.
  

Whenever the ownership of any vehicle for which a certificate of ownership has been issued without registration under Section 4452 is transferred, an application for transfer shall be made as provided in this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1961, Ch. 58.)

5905.
  

When a security interest upon a registered vehicle is satisfied, canceled, or released by the parties thereto duly registered as owner and legal owner respectively and thereafter within a period of 10 days a new security agreement covering the vehicle is executed between the same parties, no application for transfer of registration by reason thereof shall be made and no new certificate of ownership or registration card shall be issued, and all provisions of this code relating to transfers of any title or interest in a vehicle and the registration of the transfers shall be deemed to have been fully complied with, and the new security agreement shall be deemed perfected at the time the new security agreement is executed.

(Amended by Stats. 1963, Ch. 819.)

5906.
  

When the transferee of a vehicle is a dealer who holds the same for resale and operates or moves the same upon the highways under special plates, the dealer is not required to make application for transfer, but upon transferring his title or interest to another person he shall comply with this division.

(Enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

5906.5.
  

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), in the case of any transfer, including, but not limited to, a transfer resulting from a sale, lease, gift, or auction, of a vehicle under 6,001 pounds, manufacturer’s maximum gross weight rating, where no application for transfer is required, the person making such transfer, or his authorized representative, shall sign and shall record on the document evidencing the transfer of the vehicle the actual mileage of the vehicle as indicated by the vehicle’s odometer at the time of the transfer. However, if the person making the transfer, or his authorized representative, has knowledge that the mileage displayed on the odometer is incorrect, such person shall record on the document the true mileage, if known, of the vehicle at the time of transfer.

(b) Whenever the person making such transfer is not in possession of the vehicle that is transferred, the person in physical possession of such vehicle shall provide the information required by subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 797.)

5907.
  

A secured party who holds a security interest in a registered vehicle that constitutes inventory as defined in the Uniform Commercial Code, who has possession of the certificate of ownership issued for that vehicle, if the certificate of ownership has been issued, need not make application for a transfer of registration and the Uniform Commercial Code shall exclusively control the validity and perfection of that security interest. This section does not apply to the extent that subdivisions (a) to (c), inclusive, of Section 9311 of the Uniform Commercial Code apply to a security interest, because the transaction is not described in subdivision (d) of Section 9311 of that code.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 235, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2004.)

5908.
  

The transferee of a security interest in a registered vehicle need not make application for a transfer of registration when the interest of such transferee arises from a transfer of a security agreement or a lease agreement by the legal owner to the transferee to secure payment or performance of an obligation, and the Uniform Commercial Code shall exclusively control the validity and perfection of such a security interest.

(Amended by Stats. 1963, Ch. 819.)

5909.
  

(a) Whenever the title or interest of any owner or legal owner in or to a vehicle registered under this code passes to another otherwise than by voluntary transfer the new owner or legal owner may obtain a transfer of registration upon application therefor and upon presentation of the last certificate of ownership and registration card issued for the vehicle, if available, and any instruments or documents of authority or certified copies thereof as may be required by the department, or required by law, to evidence or effect a transfer of title or interest in or to chattels in such case.

(b) The department when satisfied of the genuineness and regularity of the transfer shall give notice by mail to the owner and legal owner of the vehicle as shown by the records of the department and five days after the giving of the notice, if still satisfied of the genuineness and regularity of such transfer, shall transfer the registration of the vehicle accordingly. Such notice shall not be required for a transfer described in Section 5601.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 384.)

5910.
  

(a) Upon the death of an owner or legal owner of a vehicle registered under this code, without the decedent leaving other property necessitating probate, and irrespective of the value of the vehicle, the following person or persons may secure transfer of registration of the title or interest of the decedent:

(1) The sole person or all of the persons who succeeded to the property of the decedent under Sections 6401 and 6402 of the Probate Code unless the vehicle is, by will, otherwise bequeathed.

(2) The sole beneficiary or all of the beneficiaries who succeeded to the vehicle under the will of the decedent where the vehicle is, by will, so bequeathed.

(b) The person authorized by subdivision (a) may secure a transfer of registration of the title or interest of the decedent upon presenting to the department all of the following:

(1) The appropriate certificate of ownership and registration card, if available.

(2) A certificate of the heir or beneficiary under penalty of perjury containing the following statements:

(A) The date and place of the decedent’s death.

(B) The decedent left no other property necessitating probate and no probate proceeding is now being or has been conducted in this state for the decedent’s estate.

(C) The declarant is entitled to the vehicle either (i) as the sole person or all of the persons who succeeded to the property of the decedent under Sections 6401 and 6402 of the Probate Code if the decedent left no will or (ii) as the beneficiary or beneficiaries under the decedent’s last will if the decedent left a will, and no one has a right to the decedent’s vehicle that is superior to that of the declarant.

(D) There are no unsecured creditors of the decedent or, if there are, the unsecured creditors of the decedent have been paid in full or their claims have been otherwise discharged.

(3) If required by the department, a certificate of the death of the decedent.

(4) If required by the department, the names and addresses of any other heirs or beneficiaries.

(c) If the department is presented with the documents specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (b), no liability shall be incurred by the department or any officer or employee of the department by reason of the transfer of registration of the vehicle pursuant to this section. The department or officer or employee of the department may rely in good faith on the statements in the certificate specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) and has no duty to inquire into the truth of any statement in the certificate. The person who secures the transfer of the vehicle pursuant to this section is subject to the provisions of Sections 13109 to 13113, inclusive, of the Probate Code to the same extent as a person to whom transfer of property is made under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 13100) of Part 1 of Division 8 of the Probate Code.

(d) The department may prescribe a combined form for use under this section and Section 9916.

(Amended by Stats. 1986, Ch. 783, Sec. 26. Operative July 1, 1987, by Sec. 30 of Ch. 783.)

5910.5.
  

(a) On death of the owner of a vehicle owned in beneficiary form, the vehicle belongs to the surviving beneficiary, if any. If there is no surviving beneficiary, the vehicle belongs to the estate of the deceased owner or of the last coowner to die.

(b) A certificate of ownership in beneficiary form may be revoked or the beneficiary changed at any time before the death of the owner by either of the following methods:

(1) By sale of the vehicle with proper assignment and delivery of the certificate of ownership to another person.

(2) By application for a new certificate of ownership without designation of a beneficiary or with the designation of a different beneficiary.

(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), designation of a beneficiary in a certificate of ownership issued in beneficiary form may not be changed or revoked by will, by any other instrument, by a change of circumstances, or otherwise.

(d) The beneficiary’s interest in the vehicle at death of the owner is subject to any contract of sale, assignment, or security interest to which the owner was subject during his or her lifetime.

(e) The surviving beneficiary may secure a transfer of ownership for the vehicle upon presenting to the department all of the following:

(1) The appropriate certificate of ownership.

(2) A certificate under penalty of perjury stating the date and place of the owner’s death and that the declarant is entitled to the vehicle as the designated beneficiary.

(3) If required by the department, a certificate of the death of the owner.

(f) After the death of the owner, the surviving beneficiary may transfer his or her interest in the vehicle to another person without securing transfer of ownership into his or her own name by appropriately signing the certificate of ownership for the vehicle and delivering the document to the transferee for forwarding to the department with appropriate fees. The transferee may secure a transfer of ownership upon presenting to the department (1) the certificate of ownership signed by the beneficiary, (2) the certificate described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) executed by the beneficiary under penalty of perjury; and (3) if required by the department, a certificate of death of the owner.

(g) A transfer at death pursuant to this section is effective by reason of this section, and shall not be deemed to be a testamentary disposition of property. The right of the designated beneficiary to the vehicle shall not be denied, abridged, or affected on the grounds that the right has not been created by a writing executed in accordance with the laws of this state prescribing the requirements to effect a valid testamentary disposition of property.

(h) A transfer at death pursuant to this section is subject to Section 9653 of the Probate Code.

(i) If there is no surviving beneficiary, the person or persons described in Section 5910 may secure transfer of the vehicle as provided in that section.

(j) The department may prescribe forms for use pursuant to this section.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 1055, Sec. 59. Operative January 1, 1993, by Sec. 64 of Ch. 1055.)

5910.7.
  

(a) If the department makes a transfer pursuant to Section 5910.5, the department is discharged from all liability, whether or not the transfer is consistent with the beneficial ownership of the vehicle transferred.

(b) The protection provided by subdivision (a) does not extend to a transfer made after the department has been served with a court order restraining the transfer. No other notice or information shown to have been available to the department shall affect its right to the protection afforded by subdivision (a).

(c) The protection provided by this section has no bearing on the rights of parties in disputes between themselves or their successors concerning the beneficial ownership of the vehicle.

(d) The protection provided by this section is in addition to, and not exclusive of, any other protection provided to the department by any other provision of law.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 1055, Sec. 60. Operative January 1, 1993, by Sec. 64 of Ch. 1055.)

5911.
  

Whenever application is made to the department for a transfer of registration of a vehicle to a new owner or legal owner and the applicant is unable to present the certificate of ownership issued for the vehicle by reason of the same being lost or otherwise not available, the department may receive the application and examine into the circumstances of the case and may require the filing of certifications or other information, and when the department is satisfied that the applicant is entitled to a transfer of registration the department may transfer the registration of the vehicle, or reregister the vehicle under a new registration number, and issue a new certificate of ownership and registration card to the person or persons found to be entitled thereto. The department, however, shall not issue a new certificate of ownership and registration card to the applicant if the department has received notice by registered or certified mail in which it is indicated that the existing ownership certificate is being held for nonpayment of the vehicle. The notice may be forwarded by the registered owner, recorded lienholder, or by a person exempted from recording ownership by Section 5906.

(Amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1268, Sec. 6.)

5912.
  

Whenever application is made to the department for a transfer of registration of a vehicle to a new owner or legal owner and the applicant is unable to present the registration card issued for the vehicle by reason of the same being in the possession of the department upon an application for renewal of registration, the department may transfer the registration of such vehicle upon production of the properly endorsed certificate of ownership to the vehicle and a temporary receipt upon a form prescribed by the department and containing such information as the department shall deem necessary, including, but not limited to, the license number assigned to the vehicle for the ensuing registration year, the amount of the fees payable upon renewal of registration, and the vehicle identification number of the vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1973, Ch. 889.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH3.