The Law Office of Paul Mankin

Can a repossession agent come on private property and repossess your car?

Can a repossession agent come on private property to repossess your car? The quick answer to this is yes. The California repossession laws allow repossession agents to enter private property to repossess a car or vehicle.  But, of course, there are exceptions.   

A common scenario where a repossession agent is allowed to enter private property is when the car or vehicle is parked outside on a driveway in front of a garage.   There is no fence or gate blocking access to the property or the car.  In this situation, the repossession agent is allowed to walk onto the owner’s property and repossess the car.   

A repossession agent can also walk into the backyard to repossess a car as long as there is open access to the backyard.  Again, there must be open access to the backyard. There cannot be a locked fence or gate that prevents entry into the backyard.  For instance, a repossession agent could walk through a walkway on the side of the house to repossess a car.

Shockingly, the repossession laws even allow a repossession agent to repossess a car that is parked in a garage as long as the garage door is open when the repossession agent gains access to the car.  So if a car is parked in a private garage with the garage door wide open, the car is fair game for the repossession agent to repossess.

Breaching the Peace is Illegal!

While California repossession laws allow a repossession agent to enter private property to repossess a car, the agent may not repossess a car if it requires breaching the peace to do so.  The courts have held that breaking a lock or a fence to gain access to a car or vehicle is a breach of the peace.  Once a breach of peace occurs the repossession agent and finance company lose the present right to possession of the car or vehicle. 

Some examples are if there is a locked fence that surrounds the property where the car is located, a repossession agent cannot gain access to the car or vehicle for repossession.  Breaking the lock or fence is a breach of the peace.  If a car is parked in a closed garage, the repossession laws also state it is a breach of peace to break into the closed or locked garage.  Finally, it is a breach of peace to repossess a car in the backyard if the repossession agent must break a lock or gate that blocks free entry to the backyard.

If a repossession agent does commit a breach of peace by breaking a lock, fence, or garage, this amounts to a wrongful or illegal repossession and gives the consumer a right to sue.  The consumer is allowed sue the repossession agency and/or the finance company for conversion (basically theft) and other claims. 

If a repossession agency repressed your car or vehicle by breaking a lock or gate, call the repossession lawyers from the Law Office of Paul Mankin, APC at 1-800-219-3577.  We provide you with a free no obligation case evaluation and explain your repossession rights under the California repossession laws.