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Title Litigation

Disclaimer

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) provides the following information on title litigation as a public service. TxDMV believes this information to be accurate and reliable but we cannot promise it is always up-to-date and correct. TxDMV assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors in the information or for the use of the information provided. TxDMV is not providing this information as legal advice to address the circumstances of your case. The contents of this page are not rules or binding guidance of the TxDMV and cannot be used as such in a court or any other dispute with TxDMV. When in doubt about a specific case or requirement, you should consult with a lawyer.

Title Litigation

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is instituting changes to the handling of title disputes to better align with current statutory requirements and protect the rights of titleholders in Texas. The department should not be named as a party to lawsuits to establish ownership between private parties because it is not a proper or necessary party to such a suit.

The Texas Legislature has established exclusive options for a party who disagrees with a department action or cannot obtain a title because of lack of evidence. A court order directing the department to issue a title or cancel a title is not within those options and cannot be used to circumvent statutory requirements or remedies. The exclusive remedies provided by the legislature are described below:

TAC Hearing:
Texas Transportation Code §501.052 allows an interested person aggrieved by the department’s refusal, rescission, cancellation, suspension, or revocation of a title to request a hearing with the County Tax Assessor Collector in the county in which the person resides. An applicant aggrieved by the Tax Assessor Collector (TAC) decision is authorized to appeal that decision in the county or district court.

Bonded Title:
Texas Transportation Code §501.053 allows persons to obtain a title by filing a bond with the department if the vehicle is in the possession of the applicant and there is no security interest on the vehicle; any lien on the vehicle is at least 10 years old; or the person provides a release of all liens with a bond. Bonded titles provide applicants a means of obtaining a title when they are lacking documentation or evidence that is otherwise required by the Transportation Code and department rule, because the required bond provides a safety net for anyone damaged by the issuance of a title by allowing them to recover damages through an action against the bond.

The Motor Vehicle Title Manual and Salvage Nonrepairable Manual were updated and released on April 30, 2020. These manuals can be found on TxDMV’s website at https://www.txdmv.gov/publications-tac/doc_download/3080-motor-vehicle-title-manual and https://www.txdmv.gov/publications-tac/doc_download/3448-salvage-nonrepairable-manual.

As of June 1, 2020, the TxDMV will actively oppose any cases that attempt to direct state action or do not conform to the law. Any lawsuit brought against the department, other than an appeal of a TAC hearing under Texas Transportation Code §501.052(e), may be subject to dismissal on grounds on sovereign immunity. TxDMV recognizes there will be times when a lawsuit between private parties and court order are needed to provide evidence of ownership when a title is missing.

TxDMV maintains a telephone information center to provide title and registration service support. The Call Center's telephone number is (512) 465-3000 or toll-free 1-888-368-4689. Send written correspondence to TxDMV - VTR, 4000 Jackson Ave, Austin, Texas 78731 or by internet at www.txdmv.gov/. In addition, there are TxDMV Regional Service Centers located in various counties throughout the state to provide support and assistance.

Service of Process

To Process Servers:

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles location at 4000 Jackson Avenue is closed to the public based on COVID-19 concerns. As a temporary measure to accommodate individuals attempting to serve the department with process or subpoenas, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will accept copies of petitions with service of citation, summons, complaints, emergency motions, and subpoenas through email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Hand delivery of documents will not be accepted.

Service will not be deemed to be effective until you receive an email acknowledgment from the Office of the General Counsel. This emergency accommodation will continue until modified by the department.

Frequently Asked Questions

My application for title was denied, what are my options?

Answer: You may file an application for bonded title under Texas Transportation Code §501.053 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.053 or request a hearing on the refusal to issue title with the Tax Assessor Collector in the county where you reside under Texas Transportation Code §501.052.

Bonded Title: You will need to submit a completed Bonded Title Statement of Fact Form, copy of applicant's current driver license or government-issued photo identification and a $15 fee, in person (check, cash or money order) or by mail (check or money order) to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center to determine eligibility.

Tax Assessor Collector Hearing: The legal requirements for requesting a Tax Assessor Collector Hearing are set out in Texas Transportation Code §501.052 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.052. Please contact the Tax Assessor Collector in the county where you reside for specific details and requirements concerning the hearing process.

My application for title was denied and I was told that I needed to obtain a court order before I could get title? What do I do?

Answer: You may file an application for bonded title under Texas Transportation Code §501.053 or request a hearing on the refusal to issue title with the Tax Assessor Collector in the county where you reside under Texas Transportation Code §501.052 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.052

Bonded Title: You will need to submit a completed Bonded Title Statement of Fact Form, copy of applicant's current driver license or government-issued photo identification and a $15 fee, in person (check, cash or money order) or by mail (check or money order) to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center to determine eligibility.

Tax Assessor Collector Hearing: The legal requirements for requesting a Tax Assessor Collector Hearing are set out in Texas Transportation Code §501.052 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.052. Please contact the Tax Assessor Collector in the county where you reside for specific details and requirements concerning the hearing process.

I just got a letter stating that the TxDMV has issued a “Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing for a Motor Vehicle.” What does this mean?

Answer: The TxDMV issues a Notice of Determination for a Bonded Title or Tax Assessor-Collector Hearing for a motor vehicle when an application for title is rejected. You received the letter from the TxDMV because you are listed as a lien holder or current owner on the title record on the vehicle for which an application for title was made and rejected. An Applicant whose title application has been rejected may apply for a bonded title under Texas Transportation Code §501.053 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.053 or request a hearing on the TxDMV’s refusal to issue title before the Tax-Assessor Collector in the applicant’s county of residence under Texas Transportation Code §501.052 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.501.htm#501.052.

What do we need to do?

A bonded title will not issue on a vehicle with a lien shown on the title unless the company issuing a bond presents a release of lien document or certifies that all liens have been satisfied. If you are still concerned and wish to prevent a title transfer, you may wish to talk to an attorney or pursue litigation.

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