Repossession in Texas

Facing a repossession is frightening especially when most repossessions happen when you least expect it. Many repossessions take place at night, while the person is not at home, or when a person is at work.  Repo companies and car lenders make it their business to understand repossession laws in Texas because they must be very careful not to violate a person’s repossession rights in Texas.

Can a Company Legally Repossess My Car Without a Court Order?

Yes, almost every state, including Texas, has enacted laws that mirror federal repossession laws in Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.  Repossession rights in Texas are governed by the Texas Business & Commerce Code §9.609.  According to this code section, a lender has the right to repossess a vehicle without filing a lawsuit if the repossession can be accomplished without a “breach of the peace.”

Unfortunately, a “breach of the peace” is not defined in Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code nor the Texas statute governing repossession rights; therefore, Texas courts have had to define what actions are considered a “breach of the peace.”  In Chapa v. Traciers & Associates, 267 S.W.3d 386 (Tex.App.-Houston [14 Dist.] 2008), a Texas appellate court defined “breach of the peace.”

Some of the important rulings from that case include:

  • A repossession agent can repossess a vehicle on a public street when no one is present or, if someone is present, no one confronts the repossession agent or tries to stop the repossession;
  • A repossession agent can repossess a vehicle on private party but he or she cannot open a fence, gate, door or other barrier to get to the vehicle;
  • If the owner confronts the repossession agent and tells the agent to stop, it is a breach of the peace for the repossession agent to continue with the repossession. In other words, if your vehicle is being repossessed and you tell the agent to stop, the agent should leave if the agent does not have a court order allowing for the repossession.
  • A repossession agent is prohibited from threatening or physically harming you during the repossession.

In order to avoid being accused of wrongful repossession or violating repossession rights in Texas, most repossession agents pick a time and place where it is unlikely the owner will be present to object to the repossession.  Unfortunately, repossession agents are not required to have a license to operate in Texas; therefore, anyone be a repossession agent.  For this reason, you should be very cautious when confronting a repossession agent.

Your vehicle is not worth risking a physical confrontation.  If you tell the repossession agent to stop and he does not leave, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your repossession rights and legal options.

A Bankruptcy Can Stop a Repossession

If you are facing a repossession, contact Weston Legal, PLLC at 1-800-220-4318 to discuss your bankruptcy options.  You may be able to keep your car by filing a bankruptcy case; however, our attorneys must review your specific financial situation in order to determine your options.  If you vehicle was wrongfully repossessed, we can discuss your legal remedies.

Mike Weston is a seasoned debt lawsuit defense attorney and founder of Weston Legal. Since 2005, Mike has devoted his career to compassionately helping consumers struggling with issues involving their personal and business debts. Mike is grateful to have been able to help tens of thousands of clients become empowered with knowledge on the path to financial stability.

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