How to Locate State Repossession Laws


If you're facing a financial crisis, it's only natural that repossession may be a concern for you. Houses and cars are particularly vulnerable to being repossessed if you miss too many payments. Different states have different laws regarding the repossession of property like this. In some cases, you can expect a repossession within a few months of falling behind on payments, while in other states, you may have a year or more before the bank is allowed to do anything. If you're facing rough financial times, it is in your interest to locate state repossession laws.

  • Consult an attorney to find out the repossession laws in your state. Many attorneys will offer potential clients a free initial consultation, which is a perfect opportunity to ask about repossession laws. A bankruptcy or tax attorney would be most likely to have up to date information in this area.

  • Go to the library and head to the law section. Most large regional libraries have law sections that include the state statutes and an index to the statutes. Check the index for repossession laws, then locate the appropriate statute book to read up on what the laws are in your state. The State Resource Center at Lexis One is a good place to begin (see Resources below).

  • Go online. Most states have online versions of the state statutes, with searchable indexes, enabling you to locate the appropriate laws without leaving your house.

  • Ask a credit counseling agency. Even if you're not planning on signing up for their services, you can ask questions during your initial consultation with them. Since these agencies deal with credit issues every day, they are almost always up to date on repossession laws.

  • Ask a customer service agent at your loan company. The loan company has to know what the local repossession laws are, in order to make sure they're complying with those laws. While one of the managers or big bosses might not wish to divulge such information to you, a regular customer service agent may be more than willing to assist you.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if you become thoroughly familiar with your state repossession laws and feel you know just what to expect, it's still a good idea to retain an attorney to assist you once the repossession process starts. Attorneys can often find loopholes to benefit you that you may not be able to locate on your own, and can help make sure you don't get taken advantage of by unscrupulous bank officers.
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