If a car is purchased with a co-signer and the co-signer is the one making the payments, can the buyer take the property or keys without notice?

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the care is purchased with a primary borrower and a co-signer, the co-signer should really only be the surety here. He or she would be responsible for the underlying loan if the primary borrower does not pay and co-signer should pay in this situation to legally mitigate his or her damages (any claims he or she would have against the primary borrower for contribution/reimbursement of monies paid) and to preserve his or her credit rating. If the primary borrower is the buyer, the primary borrower really should be the one in possession of the motor vehicle. This is a different situation altogether if there is a contractual agreement regarding whose care this really is and who is really driving the vehicle.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The person or persons who is entitled to unilaterally make use of the car that has a co-signer for without notice is the person who is on registered title to the vehicle.

Just because a person is a co-signer for a loan for the purchase of the vehicle does not allow him or her to unilaterally take the car with or without notice from the primary borrower unless there is a written agreement between the two borrower allowing such.

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