Legal Requirements Lenders Must Satisfy to Repossess Your Car

Madeleine Jones
December 12, 2017

a car is on hold, debt lawyerLenders and the entities they employ are required to adhere to strict guidelines when repossessing a vehicle in Nevada. Otherwise, the repossession may be considered unlawful. Consumers whose vehicle was wrongfully repossessed or who have been subjected to deficiency judgments can pursue claims for damages against the lenders and towing companies responsible.

Repossession Requirements in Nevada

Nevada requires companies and their employees to have a valid license for repossession. To obtain and maintain a license, individuals must be at least 18 years old and no previous criminal record. Workers responsible for repossessing vehicles are also required to obtain a work card issued by the sheriff in the county in which they will operate.

Prior to repossessing a vehicle, the creditor is required to provide written notification to the debtor of his or her right to redeem the loan. This notice must include the amount required to redeem the loan and the date the notice is provided. State law requires creditors to allow debtors at least 10 days to redeem the loan. Debtors have the right to redeem the loan at any point prior to foreclosure. In the majority of repossessions, redemption requires becoming current on the loan obligations and paying any associated fees and penalties.

Dealing with Deficiency Judgments

The majority of lenders auction repossessed vehicles at the earliest possible opportunity. If the lender sells the vehicle for less than the amount owed by the debtor, the law allows the creditor to pursue a deficiency judgment against the debtor. A deficiency judgment enables creditors to pursue wage garnishment and bank levies to satisfy the remaining balance.

Defending against a deficiency judgment requires establishing that either the repossession of the vehicle was unlawful, or that the manner in which it was sold was unreasonable. For example:

  • the company hired by the lender did not have the proper licensure
  • the creditor did not provide sufficient notice
  • the date and time of the auction were such that an insufficient number of buyers were present.