S-0159.3  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5381



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Gardner, Horn, Haugen, Prentice and Eide


Read first time 01/22/2001.  Referred to Committee on Transportation.

Requiring the surrender of license plates.

    AN ACT Relating to the retention and issuance of motor vehicle license plates upon sale or transfer of a vehicle; and amending RCW 46.12.101 and 46.16.290.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 46.12.101 and 1998 c 203 s 11 are each amended to read as follows:

    A transfer of ownership in a motor vehicle is perfected by compliance with the requirements of this section.

    (1) If an owner transfers his or her interest in a vehicle, other than by the creation, deletion, or change of a security interest, the owner shall, at the time of the delivery of the vehicle, execute an assignment to the transferee and provide an odometer disclosure statement under RCW 46.12.124 on the certificate of ownership or as the department otherwise prescribes, and cause the certificate and assignment to be transmitted to the transferee.  The owner shall notify the department or its agents or subagents, in writing, on the appropriate form, of the date of the sale or transfer, the name and address of the owner and of the transferee, the transferee's driver's license number if available, and such description of the vehicle, including the vehicle identification number, the license plate number, or both, as may be required in the appropriate form provided or approved for that purpose by the department.  In addition, the owner must remove, from the motor vehicle being sold or transferred, the license plate issued to that vehicle and retain it as provided in RCW 46.16.290.  The report of sale will be deemed properly filed if all information required in this section is provided on the form and includes a department-authorized notation that the document was received by the department, its agents, or subagents on or before the fifth day after the sale of the vehicle, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and state and federal holidays.  Agents and subagents shall immediately electronically transmit the seller's report of sale to the department.  Reports of sale processed and recorded by the department's agents or subagents may be subject to fees as specified in RCW 46.01.140 (4)(a) or (5)(b).

    (2) The requirements of subsection (1) of this section to provide an odometer disclosure statement apply to the transfer of vehicles held for lease when transferred to a lessee and then to the lessor at the end of the leasehold and to vehicles held in a fleet when transferred to a purchaser.

    (3) Except as provided in RCW 46.70.122, the transferee shall, within fifteen days after delivery to the transferee of the vehicle, execute the application for a new certificate of ownership in the same space provided ((therefor)) on the certificate or as the department prescribes, and cause the certificates and application to be transmitted to the department.  Upon receipt of the application, the department shall issue new vehicle license plates to the transferee.  The department may establish a fee to issue new license plates under this section, the total proceeds of which shall be deposited in the motor vehicle fund.

    (4) Upon request of the owner or transferee, a secured party in possession of the certificate of ownership shall, unless the transfer was a breach of its security agreement, either deliver the certificate to the transferee for transmission to the department or, when the secured party receives the owner's assignment from the transferee, it shall transmit the transferee's application for a new certificate, the existing certificate, and the required fee to the department.  Compliance with this section does not affect the rights of the secured party.

    (5) If a security interest is reserved or created at the time of the transfer, the certificate of ownership shall be retained by or delivered to the person who becomes the secured party, and the parties shall comply with the provisions of RCW 46.12.170.

    (6) If the purchaser or transferee fails or neglects to make application to transfer the certificate of ownership and license registration within fifteen days after the date of delivery of the vehicle, he or she shall on making application for transfer be assessed a twenty-five dollar penalty on the sixteenth day and two dollars additional for each day thereafter, but not to exceed one hundred dollars.  The director may by rule establish conditions under which the penalty will not be assessed when an application for transfer is delayed for reasons beyond the control of the purchaser.  Conditions for not assessing the penalty may be established for but not limited to delays caused by:

    (a) The department requesting additional supporting documents;

    (b) Extended hospitalization or illness of the purchaser;

    (c) Failure of a legal owner to release his or her interest;

    (d) Failure, negligence, or nonperformance of the department, auditor, or subagent.

    Failure or neglect to make application to transfer the certificate of ownership and license registration within forty-five days after the date of delivery of the vehicle is a misdemeanor.

    (7) Upon receipt of an application for reissue or replacement of a certificate of ownership and transfer of license registration, accompanied by the endorsed certificate of ownership or other documentary evidence as is deemed necessary, the department shall, if the application is in order and if all provisions relating to the certificate of ownership and license registration have been complied with, issue new certificates of title and license registration as in the case of an original issue and shall transmit the fees together with an itemized detailed report to the state treasurer, to be deposited in the motor vehicle fund.

    (8) Once each quarter the department shall report to the department of revenue a list of those vehicles for which a seller's report has been received but no transfer of title has taken place.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 46.16.290 and 1997 c 291 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) In any case of a valid sale or transfer of the ownership of any vehicle, the right to the certificates properly transferable ((therewith)), except as provided in RCW 46.16.280, ((and to the vehicle license plates)) passes to the purchaser or transferee.  It is unlawful for the holder of such certificates, except as provided in RCW 46.16.280, ((or vehicle license plates)) to fail, neglect, or refuse to endorse the certificates ((and deliver the vehicle license plates to the purchaser or transferee)).

    (2) Effective July 1, 2001, motor vehicle license plates shall not be transferable between motor vehicle owners.

    (3) When a motor vehicle with valid license plates is sold or transferred, the license plates shall be removed from the vehicle and retained by the seller or transferor.  The plates shall be removed from the vehicle before it is delivered to the purchaser or transferee.

    (4) If the sale or transfer is of a vehicle licensed by the state or any county, city, town, school district, or other political subdivision entitled to exemption as provided by law, or, if the vehicle is licensed with personalized plates, amateur radio operator plates, medal of honor plates, disabled person plates, disabled veteran plates, prisoner of war plates, or other special license plates issued under RCW 46.16.301 as it existed before amendment by section 5, chapter 291, Laws of 1997, the vehicle license plates ((therefor)) shall be retained and may be displayed upon a vehicle obtained in replacement of the vehicle ((so)) sold or transferred.


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