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Can the co-buyer of a car take or sell the car without the buyer's consent?

Miami, FL |

I am the co-buyer of a car. I want to take it with me when I move across the country but the buyer of the car objects to this. We both contributed to the down payment but I have been making the monthly payments for the car for the past 2 years (I still owe money on it). The buyer has been paying for the insurance. The buyer has never used the car. I am the primary driver of the car. The title has both of our names on it. Our names are separated by the conjunction "or." Is it legal for me to take the car cross-country against the buyer's wishes? Will the buyer be able to have me arrested or take legal action against me? Can I sell the car without the buyer's consent?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. With the "or", you have equal rights to possession of the vehicle, regardless of who paid for what. You can sell the car without the buyer's consent. You can transfer the title to yourself alone. I suggest you stop thinking of the other person as the "buyer". The car was sold to the both of you. You are as much a buyer as the other. You are as much the owner as the other.
    Law enforcement should not be concerned.

    I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.


  2. You are legally free to use the car as you wish, as long as its not for an illegal purpose. However, the other individual you refer to can assert an equitable lien against the car to the extent of their contribution.


  3. No, you cannot be arrested for driving the car when your name appears on the title, and it is properly registered and insured. If the other co-owner attempted to report that you have stolen the vehicle, they would be filing a false police report.

    Yes, you can sell the car without the other co-owner's consent if the title reads: "Owner A" OR "Owner B" but remember, the other party can just as easily sell the car "out from under" you without your consent!

    You are in a sticky situation, the two of you created. There are ways to disentangle this situation, but it will involve transferring title, and paying-off and/or refinancing the current loan.

    I am an attorney who is only licensed in the State of Florida. My answer is general legal advice based upon what I perceive your question to be, and should not be relied upon because every person's facts and circumstances are unique, and because specific laws vary from state to state. To completely evaluate a legal issue requires reviewing and evaluating all relevant facts, applicable laws and other information. My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and offered for informational purposes only.