A member asked over 8 years ago

Vehicle sale agreement.

I gave my bother a vehicle to use and pay off. I kept the rego in my name. We agred that it would be settled in 6 months, with times being hard I gave him another 6 months, those 6 months have passed and still no payment. Where do I legally stand to take vehicle back,  it is registered in my name.

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. Whether you can take the vehicle back depends on the terms of the agreement that you reached with your brother. It is not clear whether you put the agreement in writing – in any case, a verbal agreement can have the same effect as a written one.

The most important issue here is when you intended ‘title’ or ownership of the vehicle to pass from you to him. You may have intended that he would become the new owner straight away and would pay off the vehicle over a period of 6 months. Or you may have intended that he could use the vehicle straight away but he would not become the owner until the vehicle had been completely paid off, at which time you would transfer the registration into his name.

If you did not intend to transfer ownership until full payment was made, then you are still the legal owner of the vehicle. This is because you gave your brother possession of the vehicle on the condition that he would pay for it. He has not made any payments and therefore failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. This means you have a right to take back the vehicle.

While this may be the ‘legal’ answer, you may face practical difficulties in getting the vehicle back. Generally, the law will only recognise an agreement or contract where the parties intended to create legal relations. This means the parties need to be serious about entering the agreement such that one party will sue the other party if they fail to perform their side of the bargain. You may have difficulty proving that you and your brother intended to create a legally binding agreement because it is between family members, specific terms may not have been agreed, and the agreement may not have been in writing or otherwise recorded.

Suggested way forward

It sounds like you have a strong legal claim for taking back the vehicle. You would benefit from speaking to a lawyer who can properly assess the agreement you made with your brother in order to advise you of your legal rights and the best course of action. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 8 years ago   Legal disclaimer

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