2019 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Fillingane
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 85-7-251, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE SALE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR TOWING AND STORAGE COSTS TO INCLUDE THE RIGHT TO RETAIN AND POSSIBLY SELL THE PERSONAL PROPERTY CONTENTS OF THE TOWED VEHICLE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 85-7-251, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
85-7-251. (1) The owner of
a motor vehicle that has been towed at his request or at the direction of a law
enforcement officer, or towed upon request of a real property owner upon whose
property a vehicle has been left without permission of the real property owner
for more than five (5) days, shall be liable for the reasonable price of towing
and storage of such vehicle; and the towing company to whom the price of such
labor and storage costs may be due shall have the right to retain possession of * * *
the motor vehicle and, if there
is no superior ownership right in an innocent third party, any personal property
contents of the motor vehicle until the price is paid.
(2) Within twenty-four (24)
hours, the towing company shall report to the local law enforcement agency
having jurisdiction any vehicle that has been towed unless the vehicle was
towed at the request of the owner of the vehicle. If the owner of a towed
vehicle has not contacted the towing company within five (5) business days of
the initial tow, the towing company shall obtain from the appropriate authority
the names and addresses of any owner and lienholder of the vehicle and of
any owner and lienholder of the personal property contents of the vehicle.
If the information from the appropriate authority fails to disclose the owner
or lienholder, a good faith effort shall be made by the towing company to
locate ownership, including a check for tag information, inspection sticker, or
any papers in the vehicle that may indicate ownership of the vehicle or the
personal property contents of the vehicle. Upon location of the owner and
lienholder, the towing company shall notify them by registered mail of the
amount due for towing, postmarked no later than the tenth day following the
initial tow. If such amount shall not be paid within thirty (30) days from the
initial tow, the towing company to whom such charges are payable shall notify
by certified mail any legal owner and holder of any lien, as disclosed by the
motor vehicle title records or other investigation, of notice of sale of the vehicle
or the personal property contents of the vehicle, or both. If such
property has not been redeemed within ten (10) days after the mailing of the
certified letter, the towing company may commence sale of the property at
public auction. The towing company shall publish for two (2) consecutive weeks
a notice of sale in the newspaper having circulation in the county where the
vehicle was initially towed. The proceeds of the sale of * * *
the vehicle and any personal
property contents in excess of the amount needed to pay the towing,
reasonable storage and necessary expenses of the procedures required by this
section shall be held by the towing company for a period of six (6) months,
and, if not reclaimed by the owner thereof within such time, shall become the
property of the county and be paid to the chancery clerk of the county in which
the sale was held to be deposited into the county general fund, subject,
however, to any rights of the recorded lienholder.
(3) The failure to make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of this section shall preclude the imposition of any storage charges or towing charges against the towed vehicle.
(4) Every towing company shall maintain accurate records for a period of three (3) years, which records shall identify the vehicles it has towed and stored and all procedures that it has taken to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2019.