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CHAPTER 168B. ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote
168B.01LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; PURPOSE.
168B.011DEFINITIONS.
168B.02Repealed, 1995 c 137 s 13
168B.03VIOLATION TO ABANDON MOTOR VEHICLE.
168B.04AUTHORITY TO IMPOUND VEHICLES.
168B.05Repealed, 1995 c 137 s 13
168B.051SALE; WAITING PERIODS.
168B.055NOTICE FOR REMOVAL FROM VEHICLE SERVICE FACILITY.
168B.06NOTICE OF TAKING AND SALE.
168B.07RIGHT TO RECLAIM.
168B.08DISPOSITION BY IMPOUND LOT.
168B.087OPERATOR'S DEFICIENCY CLAIM; CONSENT TO SALE.
168B.09DISPOSAL AUTHORITY.
168B.10CONTRACTS; REIMBURSEMENT BY AGENCY.
168B.101AGENCY RESPONSIBILITY.
168B.11Repealed, 1981 c 356 s 377
168B.12Repealed, 1973 c 649 s 9
168B.13Repealed, 1973 c 649 s 9
168B.01 LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; PURPOSE.
Abandoned motor vehicles constitute a hazard to the health and welfare of the people of the
state in that such vehicles can harbor noxious diseases, furnish shelter and breeding places for
vermin, and present physical dangers to the safety and well-being of children and other citizens.
Abandoned motor vehicles and other scrap metals also constitute a blight on the landscape of the
state and therefore a detriment to the environment. The abandonment and retirement of motor
vehicles and other scrap metals constitutes a waste of a valuable source of useful metal. It is
therefore in the public interest that the present accumulation of abandoned motor vehicles and
other scrap metals be eliminated, that future abandonment of motor vehicles and other scrap
metals be prevented, that the expansion of existing scrap recycling facilities be developed and that
other acceptable and economically useful methods for the disposal of abandoned motor vehicles
and other forms of scrap metal be developed.
History: 1971 c 734 s 1
168B.011 DEFINITIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Scope. The terms used in this chapter have the meanings given them in
this section.
    Subd. 2. Abandoned vehicle. (a) "Abandoned vehicle" means a motor vehicle, as defined in
section 169.01, that:
(1) has remained illegally:
(i) for a period of more than 48 hours on any property owned or controlled by a unit of
government, or more than four hours on that property when it is properly posted; or
(ii) on private property for a period of time, as determined under section 168B.04,
subdivision 2
, without the consent of the person in control of the property; and
(2) lacks vital component parts or is in an inoperable condition such that it has no substantial
potential for further use consistent with its usual functions, unless it is kept in an enclosed garage
or storage building.
(b) A classic car or pioneer car, as defined in section 168.10, is not considered an abandoned
vehicle.
(c) Vehicles on the premises of junk yards and automobile graveyards that are defined,
maintained, and licensed in accordance with section 161.242, or that are licensed and maintained
in accordance with local laws and zoning regulations, are not considered abandoned vehicles.
(d) A vehicle being held for storage by agreement or being held under police authority
or pursuant to a writ or court order is not considered abandoned, nor may it be processed as
abandoned while the police hold, writ, or court order is in effect.
    Subd. 3. Junk vehicle. "Junk vehicle" means a vehicle that:
(1) is three years old or older;
(2) is extensively damaged, with the damage including such things as broken or missing
wheels, motor, drive train, or transmission;
(3) is apparently inoperable;
(4) does not have a valid, current registration plate; and
(5) has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap
in it.
    Subd. 4. Unauthorized vehicle. "Unauthorized vehicle" means a vehicle that is subject to
removal and impoundment pursuant to section 168B.04, subdivision 2, or 169.041, but is not a
junk vehicle or an abandoned vehicle.
    Subd. 5. Agency. "Agency" means the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
    Subd. 6. Department. "Department" means the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
    Subd. 7. Impound. "Impound" means to take and hold a vehicle in legal custody. There are
two types of impounds, public and nonpublic.
    Subd. 8. Impound lot operator or operator. "Impound lot operator" or "operator" means a
person who engages in impounding or storing, usually temporarily, unauthorized or abandoned
vehicles. "Operator" includes an operator of a public or nonpublic impound lot, regardless of
whether tow truck service is provided.
    Subd. 9. Motor vehicle or vehicle. "Motor vehicle" or "vehicle" has the meaning given
motor vehicle in section 169.01.
    Subd. 10. Motor vehicle waste. "Motor vehicle waste" means solid waste and liquid wastes
derived in the operation of or in the recycling of a motor vehicle, including such things as tires
and used motor oil, but excluding scrap metal.
    Subd. 11. Nonpublic impound lot. "Nonpublic impound lot" means an impound lot that is
not a public impound lot.
    Subd. 12. Public impound lot. "Public impound lot" means an impound lot owned by or
contracting with a unit of government under section 168B.09.
    Subd. 13. Unit of government. "Unit of government" includes a state department or agency,
a special purpose district, and a county, statutory or home rule charter city, or town.
    Subd. 14. Vital component parts. "Vital component parts" means those parts of a motor
vehicle that are essential to the mechanical functioning of the vehicle, including such things as
the motor, drive train, and wheels.
History: 1995 c 137 s 1
168B.02 [Repealed, 1995 c 137 s 13]
168B.03 VIOLATION TO ABANDON MOTOR VEHICLE.
Any person who abandons a motor vehicle on any public or private property, without the
consent of the person in control of such property, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
History: 1971 c 734 s 3
168B.04 AUTHORITY TO IMPOUND VEHICLES.
    Subdivision 1. Abandoned or junk vehicles. Units of government and peace officers may
take into custody and impound any abandoned or junk vehicle.
    Subd. 2. Unauthorized vehicles. (a) Units of government and peace officers may take into
custody and impound any unauthorized vehicle under section 169.041.
(b) A vehicle may also be impounded after it has been left unattended in one of the following
public or private locations for the indicated period of time:
(1) in a public location not governed by section 169.041:
(i) on a highway and properly tagged by a peace officer, four hours;
(ii) located so as to constitute an accident or traffic hazard to the traveling public, as
determined by a peace officer, immediately; or
(iii) that is a parking facility or other public property owned or controlled by a unit of
government, properly posted, four hours; or
(2) on private property:
(i) that is single-family or duplex residential property, immediately;
(ii) that is private, nonresidential property, properly posted, immediately;
(iii) that is private, nonresidential property, not posted, 24 hours;
(iv) that is private, nonresidential property of an operator of an establishment for the
servicing, repair, or maintenance of motor vehicles, five business days after notifying the vehicle
owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the property owner's intention to have the
vehicle removed from the property; or
(v) that is any residential property, properly posted, immediately.
History: 1971 c 734 s 4; 1995 c 137 s 2; 2004 c 224 s 5
168B.05 [Repealed, 1995 c 137 s 13]
168B.051 SALE; WAITING PERIODS.
    Subdivision 1. Sale after 15 days. An impounded vehicle is eligible for disposal or sale
under section 168B.08, 15 days after notice to the owner, if the vehicle is determined to be:
(1) a junk vehicle, except that it may have a valid, current registration plate and still be
eligible for disposal or sale under this subdivision; or
(2) an abandoned vehicle.
    Subd. 1a. Sale 15 days after notice by certified mail. An unauthorized vehicle impounded
by the city of Minneapolis or by the city of St. Paul is eligible for disposal or sale under section
168B.08, 15 days after notice is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered
owner, if any, of the unauthorized vehicle and to all readily identifiable lienholders of record.
If, before the expiration of the 15-day period following notice of taking, the registered owner or
lienholder of record delivers to the impound lot operator a written statement of intent to reclaim
the vehicle, the vehicle is not eligible for disposal or sale until 45 days after the notice of taking,
if the owner or lienholder has not reclaimed under section 168B.07. Notwithstanding section
168B.06, subdivision 3, a second notice shall not be required.
    Subd. 2. Sale after 45 days. An impounded vehicle is eligible for disposal or sale under
section 168B.08, 45 days after notice to the owner, if the vehicle is determined to be an
unauthorized vehicle that was not impounded by the city of Minneapolis or the city of St. Paul.
History: 1995 c 137 s 3; 1997 c 108 s 1,2
168B.055 NOTICE FOR REMOVAL FROM VEHICLE SERVICE FACILITY.
An owner or agent of an owner of private, nonresidential property described in section
168B.04, subdivision 2, paragraph (b), clause (2)(iv), is authorized to remove or cause the
removal of an unauthorized vehicle from that property after providing five-day notice to the
vehicle owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the vehicle will be removed from
the property. Notification must include identification of the registration plate number, the vehicle
identification number, and the make, model, and color of the vehicle. The owner or agent of an
owner of property upon which a motor vehicle is unauthorized may cause the vehicle to be
removed by a towing service under this section without incurring any civil liability to the owner
of the unauthorized vehicle. Vehicles removed pursuant to a complaint of the owner or agent of
the owner of private property must be disposed of as provided in sections 168B.051 to 168B.10.
History: 2004 c 224 s 6
168B.06 NOTICE OF TAKING AND SALE.
    Subdivision 1. Contents; notice given within five days. When an impounded vehicle is
taken into custody, the unit of government or impound lot operator taking it into custody shall give
notice of the taking within five days. The notice shall (1) set forth the date and place of the taking,
the year, make, model and serial number of the impounded motor vehicle if such information
can be reasonably obtained and the place where the vehicle is being held, (2) inform the owner
and any lienholders of their right to reclaim the vehicle under section 168B.07, and (3) state that
failure of the owner or lienholders to exercise their right to reclaim the vehicle and contents within
the appropriate time allowed under section 168B.051, subdivision 1, 1a, or 2, shall be deemed
a waiver by them of all right, title, and interest in the vehicle and contents and a consent to the
transfer of title to and disposal or sale of the vehicle and contents pursuant to section 168B.08.
    Subd. 2. Notice by mail or publication. The notice shall be sent by mail to the registered
owner, if any, of an impounded vehicle and to all readily identifiable lienholders of record. The
department shall make this information available to impound lot operators for notification
purposes. If it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of
the registered owner and all lienholders, the notice shall be published once in a newspaper of
general circulation in the area where the motor vehicle was towed from or abandoned. Published
notices may be grouped together for convenience and economy.
    Subd. 3. Unauthorized vehicle; notice. If an unauthorized vehicle remains unclaimed after
30 days from the date the notice was sent under subdivision 2, a second notice shall be sent by
certified mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner, if any, of the unauthorized vehicle
and to all readily identifiable lienholders of record.
History: 1971 c 734 s 6; 1973 c 649 s 3; 1995 c 137 s 4; 1997 c 70 s 1; 1997 c 108 s 3
168B.07 RIGHT TO RECLAIM.
    Subdivision 1. Payment of charges. The owner or any lienholder of an impounded vehicle
shall have a right to reclaim such vehicle from the unit of government or impound lot operator
taking it into custody upon payment of all towing and storage charges resulting from taking the
vehicle into custody within 15 or 45 days, as applicable under section 168B.051, subdivision 1,
1a, or 2, after the date of the notice required by section 168B.06.
    Subd. 2. Lienholder. Nothing in sections 168B.01 to 168B.101 shall be construed to impair
any lien of a garagekeeper under the laws of this state, or the right of a lienholder to foreclose. For
the purposes of this section "garagekeeper" is an operator of a parking place or establishment, an
operator of a motor vehicle storage facility, or an operator of an establishment for the servicing,
repair, or maintenance of motor vehicles.
History: 1971 c 734 s 7; 1980 c 509 s 57; 1987 c 384 art 2 s 1; 1995 c 137 s 5; 1997
c 108 s 4; 1997 c 251 s 4
168B.08 DISPOSITION BY IMPOUND LOT.
    Subdivision 1. Auction or sale. (a) If an abandoned or unauthorized vehicle and contents
taken into custody by a unit of government or any impound lot is not reclaimed under section
168B.07, it may be disposed of or sold at auction or sale when eligible pursuant to sections
168B.06 and 168B.07.
(b) The purchaser shall be given a receipt in a form prescribed by the registrar of motor
vehicles which shall be sufficient title to dispose of the vehicle. The receipt shall also entitle the
purchaser to register the vehicle and receive a certificate of title, free and clear of all liens and
claims of ownership. Before such a vehicle is issued a new certificate of title it must receive a
motor vehicle safety check.
    Subd. 2. Unsold vehicle. Abandoned or junk vehicles not sold by units of government or
public impound lots pursuant to subdivision 1 shall be disposed of in accordance with section
168B.09.
    Subd. 3. Sale proceeds; public entities. From the proceeds of a sale under this section by a
unit of government or public impound lot of an abandoned or unauthorized motor vehicle, the unit
of government shall reimburse itself for the cost of towing, preserving and storing the vehicle,
and all administrative, notice and publication costs incurred in handling the vehicle pursuant to
sections 168B.01 to 168B.101. Any remainder from the proceeds of a sale shall be held for the
owner of the vehicle or entitled lienholder for 90 days and then shall be deposited in the treasury
of the unit of government.
    Subd. 4. Sale proceeds; nonpublic impound lots. The operator of a nonpublic impound
lot may retain any proceeds derived from a sale conducted under the authority of subdivision 1.
The operator may retain all proceeds from sale of any personal belongings and contents in the
vehicle that were not claimed by the owner or the owner's agent before the sale, except that any
suspected contraband or other items that likely would be subject to forfeiture in a criminal trial
must be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
History: 1971 c 734 s 8; 1973 c 649 s 4; 1980 c 509 s 58; 1987 c 384 art 2 s 1; 1995 c 137 s 6
168B.087 OPERATOR'S DEFICIENCY CLAIM; CONSENT TO SALE.
    Subdivision 1. Deficiency claim. (a) The nonpublic impound lot operator has a deficiency
claim against the registered owner of the vehicle for the reasonable costs of services provided in
the towing, storage, and inspection of the vehicle minus the proceeds of the sale or auction.
(b) The claim for storage costs may not exceed the costs of:
(1) 25 days storage, for a vehicle described in section 168B.051, subdivision 1; and
(2) 55 days storage, for a vehicle described in section 168B.051, subdivision 2.
    Subd. 2. Implied consent to sale. A registered owner who fails to claim the impounded
vehicle within the applicable time period allowed under section 168B.051 is deemed to waive any
right to reclaim the vehicle and consents to the disposal or sale of the vehicle and its contents
and transfer of title.
History: 1995 c 137 s 7
168B.09 DISPOSAL AUTHORITY.
    Subdivision 1. Units of government. A unit of government may contract with others or
may utilize its own equipment and personnel for the inventory of impounded motor vehicles
and abandoned scrap metal and, if no bids are received, may utilize its own equipment and
personnel for the collection, storage and transportation of these vehicles and abandoned scrap
metal; provided, however, that a unit of government may utilize its own equipment and personnel
for the collection and storage of not more than five abandoned or unauthorized vehicles without
advertising for or receiving bids in any 120-day period.
    Subd. 2. Local laws. Units of government may adopt ordinances and regulations to control
the matter subject in accordance with sections 168B.01 to 168B.101, so long as the ordinances
and regulations are not less stringent than the provisions of sections 168B.01 to 168B.101 or the
rules of the agency.
History: 1971 c 734 s 9; 1973 c 649 s 5; 1975 c 223 s 2; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1987 c 384 art 2
s 1; 1995 c 137 s 8
168B.10 CONTRACTS; REIMBURSEMENT BY AGENCY.
    Subdivision 1. Agency review and approval. If a unit of government enters into a contract
with a person licensed by the agency pursuant to this section or a contract pursuant to section
168B.09 the agency may review the contract to determine whether it conforms to the agency's
plan for solid waste management and is in compliance with agency rules. A contract that does
so conform may be approved by the agency. Where a contract has been approved, the agency
may reimburse the unit of government for the costs incurred under the contract that have not been
reimbursed under section 168B.08. Except as otherwise provided in section 168B.09, the agency
shall not approve any contract that (1) has been entered into without prior notice to and request
for bids from all persons duly licensed by the agency pursuant to subdivision 2; (2) does not
provide for a full performance bond; or (3) does not provide for total collection and transportation
of abandoned motor vehicles, except that the agency may approve a contract covering solely
collection or transportation of abandoned motor vehicles where the agency determines total
collection and transportation to be impracticable and where all other requirements herein have
been met and the unit of government, after proper notice and request for bids, has not received
any bid for total collection and transportation of abandoned motor vehicles.
    Subd. 2. Solid waste disposer license. The agency may issue a license to any person
desiring to be a party to a disposal contract who meets the requirements for solid waste disposers
established by the agency pursuant to section 116.07.
    Subd. 3. Unit of government that performs work. If a unit of government utilizes its own
equipment and personnel pursuant to its authority under section 168B.09, and the use of the
equipment and personnel conforms to the agency's plan for solid waste management and is in
compliance with agency rules, that government may be reimbursed by the agency for reasonable
costs incurred which are not reimbursed under section 168B.08.
    Subd. 4. Unit of government required to contract work. The agency may demand that a
unit of government contract for the disposal of abandoned motor vehicles and other scrap metal
pursuant to the agency's plan for solid waste disposal. Where the unit of government fails to so
contract within 180 days of the demand, the agency, through the Department of Administration
and on behalf of such unit of government, may contract with any person duly licensed by the
agency for such disposal.
    Subd. 5. Indian reservations. The agency may reimburse the government entities of Indian
reservations for the costs associated with the inventory, collection, storage and transportation of
abandoned motor vehicles and abandoned scrap metal which are voluntarily surrendered by their
owners or which are otherwise lawfully acquired by the Indian reservation. Such reimbursement
may be made for only those costs, and under the same conditions, for which a unit of government
may be reimbursed under subdivisions 1 and 3.
History: 1971 c 734 s 10; 1973 c 649 s 6-8; 1975 c 223 s 3; 1976 c 76 s 6; 1985 c 248 s 70
168B.101 AGENCY RESPONSIBILITY.
The agency may contract with others or use its own personnel to study programs for the
control of motor vehicle waste, junk and abandoned motor vehicles, or other scrap metal, or any
combination of these; or to develop public informational material and programs relating to the
proper disposal of motor vehicle waste, junk and abandoned motor vehicles, or other scrap metal.
History: 1975 c 223 s 4; 1995 c 137 s 9
168B.11 [Repealed, 1981 c 356 s 377]
168B.12 [Repealed, 1973 c 649 s 9]
168B.13 [Repealed, 1973 c 649 s 9]