For many years, Nassau County has seized cars as a way to make drivers clear up old parking tickets. If the tickets were not paid, the County would dispose of the vehicle. If a lienholder or lessor wished to recover a seized vehicle, Nassau County required payment of not just the tickets on the seized car, but also all tickets on other cars in which the lienholder or lessor had an interest. The practice of holding a car hostage for tickets charged to totally different cars (known as cross-collateralization) led to confusion and unfair overcharging to lienholders and lessors who had no other way to protect the vehicle from loss. Cross-collateralization is not legal but many municipalities employ it if no one objects.
As the result of a challenge to Nassau County’s cross-collateralizing, launched by a major leasing company, all of that has now changed. Effective immediately, Nassau County has enacted new procedures which give lienholders and lessors the right to recover seized vehicles without having to pay any parking tickets whatsoever. The new rules require that notice of the seizure be sent to the lienholder or lessor within two days of the seizure.
The driver will then have the first chance to resolve his or her tickets and recover the vehicle. If the driver does not do so, then the lienholder or lessor will be permitted to recover the vehicle, but again, without having to pay any tickets.
To pick up a vehicle, the lienholder or lessor will have to present these five documents:
• Notice of repossession
• Copy of vehicle title
• Letter of authority for agent
• Affidavit confirming the right to repossess
• A hold harmless for the County.
The bottom line is that lienholders and lessors now have the option to recover vehicles without having to pay for any parking tickets. The change only applies in Nassau County, but lienholders/lessors could likely get this outcome spread to other municipalities as well. If you encounter parking ticket cross-collateralization in another area, let me know.
If you have questions or would like a copy of the actual Nassau County procedures, please feel free to email me.