If I’m a co-signer on a car loan, canI repossess it from someone who has not made the payments?

UPDATED: Sep 3, 2010

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If I’m a co-signer on a car loan, canI repossess it from someone who has not made the payments?

My son’s truck was left in the care of his girlfriend while he’s out to sea, with the agreement that she pays the note. It’s now 3 months behind.I’m the cosigner, can I repo the truck from her?

Asked on September 3, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot do this. A loan itself, even a car (or home loan) does not give the right to repossess (or foreclose); what provides this right is a separate "security" agreement. If there is no agreement stating explicitly that you can repossess under these circumstances, then you can't. You can sue the girlfriend for her share of the payments, if you end up paying her share as well or suffering some damages owing to her nonpayment; and in some circumstances, if you make the payments, a court may award you possesion of the vehicles--but that's after a lawsuit and as the result of a court decision. There's no automatic repossession rights without that security agreement. You should consult with an attorney to determine how best to protect your rights and interests. Good luck.

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