Registering your New Ride – Part III

Previously, in Registering your New Ride – Parts I & II…

(Missed Parts I & II? Never fear, click here to catch up)

There is much excitement as you finally take a giant leap forward in the world of automobiles. You’ve pensioned off your old wagon and finally bought a car that’s actually younger than you! You’ve done everything right. You’ve negotiated like a seasoned veteran, signed an agreement for the sale of your new car, gotten all the right paperwork together, successfully acquired a roadworthy certificate, and now you’ve taken the morning off work to complete the process by registering your new car into your name. The bored clerk behind the counter accepts your documents, stamps them, glances through them. Then she pauses, takes another look at your paperwork, sits up straight, and looks up at you. You sense that her excitement at the break in her otherwise monotonous task is not necessarily a good thing.

“Where’s the Titleholder’s consent?” she asks. You look at her blankly. You’ve got everything you need. Haven’t you? Maybe not.

“Titleholder” – not a title to be taken lightly

When last did you have a good look at your vehicle’s registration papers? Do you know the significance of the “Titleholder”? Titleholder is another way of saying:

“This is the true owner of the car. Ignore the puny name of the so-called-owner, because it is I, the Titleholder, the true owner, who wields all the power. Wa-ha-ha-ha!”

The Titleholder is the way that banks protect against disposal of the car while the vehicle is still being paid off. When you finance the purchase price of your new car by getting a loan from the bank, the registration papers will list your bank as the Titleholder. The original registration form will be kept by your bank until the loan has been fully paid up. Once the car has been fully paid, the bank should supply you with the relevant paperwork allowing you to change the Titleholder to your own name.

Once you’ve paid off your car loan you will need your bank to provide you with the following documents, which will allow you to change the Titleholder:

  • The original registration papers for the car;
  • The completed Notification of Change of Ownership form, signed by the bank’s proxies;
  • A certified copy of the bank’s proxies’ IDs;
  • A confirmation of settlement letter signed by the bank confirming that the car has been fully paid for.

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, you will need to take the following with you to the Licensing Department:

  • A certified copy of the your ID;
  • A completed Application for Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle, signed by you;
  • Licensing Department’s fees.

Once you have the necessary paperwork together, it’s a simple matter of visiting the Licensing Department and changing the name of the Titleholder from the bank to yourself.

The Titleholder has formidable powers, and is able to severely restrict what you can do with the vehicle. You need the Titleholder’s written consent before you can:

  • Change the name of the Titleholder;
  • Change the name of the Owner (ie. sell the car);
  • Take the car across the border.

So, as the owner of a car, make sure that you change the titleholder once you’ve paid off your car loan. As the seller of a car, make sure that you have your bank’s consent if you want to sell your car and you have not yet paid off your loan. As the buyer of a car, make sure that the seller is named as Titleholder on the vehicle registration papers. Alternatively, make sure that you have the Titleholder’s consent before finalising the sale.

The Titleholder. Who knew? Such an unassuming name can wield such a lot of power. Get the paperwork right, and it should be plain-sailing.

Oh – and if you’re needing a Sale of Vehicle Agreement you’ve come to the right place! Click here for more info.

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.