11.06.02.10

.10 Towing, Impoundment, and Sale.

A. The MTA police department or its designee may take into custody any abandoned motor vehicle, unauthorized article, or any vehicle or piece of equipment parked or placed in violation of this chapter, abandoned or otherwise parked or placed so as to constitute a hazard to public safety, or so parked, stopped, or standing so as to impede or obstruct the normal movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic on MTA property. For this purpose, the MTA police may use its own personnel, equipment, and facilities, or use those of its designee, for removing, preserving, and storing abandoned vehicles. There may not be any liability attached to the Administration for any losses or damages resulting from these actions.

B. As soon as reasonably possible and within 7 days at most after the MTA police department takes an abandoned vehicle into custody, the MTA police shall send a notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United States Postal Service, to:

(1) The last known registered owner of the vehicle; and

(2) Each secured party, as shown on the records of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

C. The notice shall:

(1) State that the abandoned vehicle has been taken into custody and give the name, address, and telephone number of the MTA representative providing the notice;

(2) Describe the motor vehicle, unauthorized article, or piece of equipment as applicable, including year, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle;

(3) Give the location of the facility where the vehicle is held;

(4) State the authority and reason for the removal, towing, and storage of the motor vehicle, unauthorized article, or piece of equipment;

(5) In areas outside of Baltimore City, inform the owner and secured party of the owner's or secured party's right to reclaim the vehicle within 3 weeks after the date of the notice, on payment of all towing, preservation, and storage charges resulting from taking or placing the vehicle in custody, upon presentation of proof of identity and ownership, and upon signing a receipt for the motor vehicle, unauthorized article, or piece of equipment;

(6) In Baltimore City and Montgomery County, be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and inform the owner and secured party of the owner's and secured party's right to reclaim the vehicle within 11 working days after the receipt of the notice, on payment of all towing, preservation, and storage charges resulting from taking or placing the vehicle in custody; and

(7) State that the failure of the owner or secured party to exercise the right to reclaim the vehicle in the time provided is a:

(a) Waiver by the owner or secured party of the owner's or secured party's right, title, and interest in the vehicle, and

(b) Consent to the sale of the vehicle at public auction.

D. In Baltimore City, Prince George's County, and Montgomery County, the MTA police department or its agent may seek to recover costs of impoundment, storage, and sale of a vehicle as provided by Transportation Article, §§25-206.1 and 25-206.2, Annotated Code of Maryland. If the MTA police department or its designee seeks to apply the provisions of Transportation Article, §§25-206.1 and 25-206.2, Annotated Code of Maryland, the notice required by §B of this regulation shall also state that the failure of the owner or secured party to exercise the right to reclaim the vehicle in the time provided may cause:

(1) Continuing liability of the owner for costs of:

(a) Impoundment,

(b) Storage within the chargeable limit for storage as provided in Transportation Article, §25-206.1(b), Annotated Code of Maryland, and

(c) Sale of the vehicle; and

(2) Denial of an application by the owner to renew the registration of a vehicle as required by Transportation Article, §25-206.2, Annotated Code of Maryland.

E. When Owner's Identity is Uncertain.

(1) This section applies if:

(a) The identity of the last registered owner of an abandoned vehicle cannot be determined;

(b) The registration of the vehicle gives no address for the owner;

(c) It is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of each secured party; or

(d) The certified mail notice required by §B of this regulation is returned as undeliverable.

(2) Under one of the conditions enumerated in §E(1) of this regulation, the MTA police department, on taking an abandoned vehicle into custody, shall give the required notice by publication in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the area where the abandoned vehicle was found. The notice by publication:

(a) May contain multiple listings of abandoned vehicles;

(b) Shall contain the information required in §B of this regulation;

(c) Shall be published within 15 days of the taking into custody of the vehicle or, if the notice by publication is made because of the return as undeliverable of a prior notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United Postal Service, within 7 days of the return of that prior notice.

F. Failure to Reclaim.

(1) In areas outside of Baltimore City, if the owner or secured party fails to reclaim an abandoned vehicle or an impounded motor vehicle, unauthorized article, or piece of equipment within 3 weeks after notice is given under this regulation, the owner or secured party is considered to have waived all of the owner's or secured party's right, title, and interest in the item and to have consented to the sale of the vehicle at public auction, and the item shall be so sold.

(2) In Baltimore City, if the owner or secured party fails to reclaim an abandoned vehicle within 11 working days after receipt of notice given under this regulation, the owner or secured party is considered to have waived all of the owner's or secured party's right, title, and interest in the vehicle and to have consented to the sale of the vehicle at public auction, and the item shall be sold.

G. The liability of an owner or a transferrer for costs of preservation and storage shall be the same as is set forth in Transportation Article, §25-206.1, Annotated Code of Maryland.

H. If an abandoned vehicle is not reclaimed as provided in this regulation, the MTA police department or its designee shall sell the vehicle at auction. The buyer of the vehicle at auction:

(1) Takes title to the vehicle free and clear of any claim of ownership or lien;

(2) Is entitled to a sales receipt from the MTA police department which constitutes sufficient title for transferring the vehicle to a scrap processor for dismantling, destroying, or scrapping, in which case a certificate of title is not required; and

(3) Is entitled to obtain a certificate of title of the vehicle and register it in the buyer's own name:

I. Except as otherwise provided in this regulation;

(1) From the proceeds of the sale of an abandoned vehicle, the MTA police department shall reimburse itself or its designee for the costs of towing, preserving, and storing the vehicle and the expenses of the auction, including all notice and publication costs incurred under this regulation; and

(2) Any remaining proceeds of the sale shall be held for 90 days for the owner of the vehicle and any entitled secured party, after which the remaining proceeds revert to the Treasury of the State.