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Florida Repossession Laws

Florida Repossession Laws

If you’re facing repossession in the State of Florida, you need to know your rights as well as how you could potentially stop repossession altogether.

In the article below, I’ll address common questions and concerns and explore potential solutions, including bankruptcy.

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When Can a Car Be Repossessed in Florida?

In Florida, lenders can legally repossess your vehicle as soon as you default on your auto loan agreement. According to Florida Statute 537.012, a default can occur after missing a single payment.

However, most loan contracts provide a grace period of a few extra days before late fees or repossession actions begin.

Lenders are not required to provide advance notice before repossessing your vehicle in Florida.

They can take possession without warning, even from your private property, as long as the repossession agent does not breach the peace (use force, threats, or cause property damage).

The Statute of Limitation for Car Repossessions in Florida

If you’re dealing with repossession in Florida, understanding the specific legal timelines can be a game changer. Here’s a concise breakdown of what lenders and borrowers need to know about the statute of limitations and other critical procedures in the Sunshine State.

Statute of Limitations for Car Repossession in FloridaTime Frame
No specific statute of limitations for the act of repossessing a vehicleN/A
Lenders can legally repossess your car as soon as you default on your auto loan agreementN/A
Statute of limitations for lenders to sue borrowers in civil court to collect deficiency balances5 years from the date of repossession
Creditors lose the right to sue for deficiencies after the statute of limitations period expires5 years from the date of repossession
Lender must send a “Notice of Right to Redeem Vehicle” to the borrowerWithin 45 days after the sale
Lender must send a “Notice of Sale” informing the borrower of the upcoming public sale date or that a private sale will take placeWithin 60 days after repossessing the vehicle
The Statute of Limitation for Car Repossessions in Florida

Florida Repossession Fees and Costs

If your car is repossessed in Florida, you may be responsible for the following fees and costs:

Fee TypeAverage Cost
Repossession fee$350 (varies by lender)
Storage feesDaily or monthly rate
Auction/sale feesVaries
Deficiency balanceDifference between sale price and loan balance
Repossession Fees and Costs

Review your loan agreement carefully to understand your specific financial obligations in the event of repossession.

Personal Property in Repossessed Vehicles

Florida law requires repossession agents to inventory any personal belongings left in a repossessed vehicle.

The agent must provide written notice and allow you to retrieve your items, though you may need to pay storage and inventory expenses.

Consult an attorney if the lender cannot account for valuable articles left in your car.

How to Prevent Car Repossession in Florida

If you’re struggling to make car payments, consider these options to prevent repossession:

  1. Negotiate with your lender – They may agree to modify payments, waive fees, or extend the loan term.
  2. Voluntarily surrender the vehicle – This can help avoid additional repossession fees and costs.
  3. Reinstate the loan – Pay the past-due amount and associated fees within the legal timeframe to reinstate.
  4. Redeem the vehicle – Pay off the full loan balance plus repossession expenses to reclaim your car.

Limitations on Repossession Agents in Florida

While repossession agents can legally take your vehicle, they must still follow certain rules:

  • No breach of peace (force, threats, property damage)
  • No trespassing in locked or gated areas without permission
  • No carrying or using firearms during repossession
  • Must inventory personal belongings and allow retrieval

You may have legal recourse if an agent violates these limitations.

Can Bankruptcy Prevent Repossession in Florida

Yes, filing for bankruptcy can potentially halt or clear a car repossession, but it’s not guaranteed:

  • Automatic stay – Immediately stops repossession upon filing bankruptcy
  • Chapter 7 – May allow redemption by paying market value in a lump sum or surrender the car and discharge the debt
  • Chapter 13 – Restructure the loan in a 3-5 year plan, potentially “cramming down” the balance to the current value

Consult a bankruptcy attorney to understand your options and the long-term implications before pursuing this path.


If you’re facing car repossession in Florida, you have rights and options.

Always be proactive and communicate with your lender to discuss potential solutions like a modified payment plan or voluntary surrender. Believe me, it will go a long way!

Also, consider seeking legal advice to understand your options, including bankruptcy, which may help protect your vehicle.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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