Understanding Your Rights in Repossession Cases

When Should I Be Worried About Property Repossession?

When you have a secured debt, whether it’s an automobile loan or an expensive electronic system, the item in question is not legally yours until you’ve made all required payments in accordance with the loan terms. Once your creditor considers you to be in “default,” they can take the item back at any time, under repossession laws.

Although this can technically happen right after the first missed payment, most lenders will usually wait for at least 2 or 3 payments before declaring you to be in default, as the repossession process is both time-consuming and costly for them. That’s why repossession action is most commonly pursued for highly valuable items, such as cars.

Here are some other items that can be subject to repossession:

  • Expensive jewelry
  • Rent-to-own furniture
  • Real estate property (called foreclosure)
  • High-tech electronics
  • Stereo systems
  • Fine art

Do Creditors Have to Notify Me Before Repossession?

In the state of Florida, debtors are not legally entitled to receive any notice about repossession. Typically, your creditor will work with a third-party collection service that specializes in repossession, rather than trying to take back the item on their own. This third-party repossession agency will be responsible for capturing and re-selling the item.

However, if either the third-party collection service or the creditor causes a “breach of the peace” while collecting your property, or threatens physical force against you, you can file a formal complaint in the court system and hold them accountable for these abuses. While they don’t need permission to enter your property, they can’t trespass through a locked security gate, as this would constitute a break-in.

Finally, you also have the right to take any personal items that were left in your car, or in conjunction with the repossessed property. If either your creditor or the third-party repossession service blocks you from retrieving these items, you may be able to seek legal action.

If you’re continually struggling with debt, we can help you find a better solution through bankruptcy, and put a stop to repossession once and for all. Call (321) 320-6088 today to speak with our Brevard County bankruptcy attorneys!