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Abandoned Property

This guide provides laws, books and other resources on the topic of real and personal property which is lost or abandoned, including through adverse possession.

Abandoned Vehicles

When Is a Vehicle Considered Abandoned?

In most cases, a vehicle is considered "abandoned" if it has been left unattended without permission in certain areas for more than 48 hours. See Section 683.002 of the Texas Transportation Code for a definition of "abandoned vehicle."

If a car, truck, or another type of vehicle is abandoned on public or private property or left in a commercial storage facility, law enforcement can remove the vehicle.

Texas Law

Notice & Storage

Once law enforcement removes the abandoned vehicle, they must notify the last known registered owner or any lienholder. The notice must also be sent to anyone who has filed a theft report for the vehicle. If the vehicle is towed to a storage facility, the facility is also required to notify the last known owner or lienholder.

Law enforcement and storage facilities can charge fees to store the abandoned vehicle. If the vehicle has not been claimed within a set time period, it can be sold or transferred at a public auction.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law

Junked Vehicles

Unlike abandoned vehicles that are unattended but may or may not still be in good working order, a junked vehicle is wrecked or inoperable. It is considered to be a public nuisance, meaning that it "is detrimental to the safety and welfare of the public."

Junked vehicles are regulated at the local level. Your city or county may have local laws that govern how junked vehicles are handled. These local laws may outline how the owner of the property must be notified and when the junked vehicle can be transferred or disposed of.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law