If I am a co-signer on a car loan and I am on the title as co-owner, can I take the car into my possession without it being considered theft?

UPDATED: Aug 12, 2011

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If I am a co-signer on a car loan and I am on the title as co-owner, can I take the car into my possession without it being considered theft?

I co-signed a loan on a car. The person is now out of work and has missed payments to the bank. I am on the registration/title as co-owner of the vehicle. My name appears first on the legal owners line.

Asked on August 12, 2011 Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Technically since you are the vehicle's registered owner, you are entitled to its possession especially since you are are a co-signer on its loan and the person who has possession of the vehicle is unemployed and has missed making the monthly payments for the vehicle to the lending institution who made the loan on the vehicle without your taking of it being considered theft.

I recommend that you and the other registered owner sign a dated written agreement setting forth the fact that you as the other registered owner and co-obligor on the car's loan will be taking posession of the vehicle and will be making its monthly payments to keep its loan current.

By doing this, if matter's between you and the other co-owner sour, you have evidence that you are entitled to the vehicle's possession.

Good luck.

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