Alaska Department of Administration, Divison of Motor Vehicles
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Abandoned Vehicles

How to handle an abandoned vehicle depends greatly on circumstance, please read the descriptions carefully.


An abandoned vehicle is defined as a "...vehicle which has been left unattended, standing, parked upon or within 10 feet of the traveled portion of the highway in excess of 48 hours, or a vehicle left standing or parked on private property in excess of 24 hours or upon other public property for more than 30 days, without consent of the owner or person in charge of the property..." It is unlawful to abandon a vehicle.

A peace officer or an employee authorized by the State, a municipality or borough may remove or have the vehicle removed to a place of storage.

Important Laws

A vehicle abandoned on public or private property. (AS 28.11.020)

  • The owner of private property on which a vehicle has been abandoned, may request in writing to the municipality, that the vehicle be removed (AS 28.11.030). The State or municipality may then sell the vehicle at public auction. The buyer of the vehicle at public auction may then apply for a title by surrendering the affidavit of sale of a vehicle for towing and/or storage lien along with an Application for Title and Registration, completed in full. (Form 812 or 812A)

A vehicle abandoned on private property. (AS 28.11.025)

In addition to removal of an abandoned vehicle under AS 28.11.020, a vehicle that is left standing or parked on private property without the consent of the private property owner and for a period of six months is presumed to be an abandoned vehicle and title to the vehicle may be transferred to the private property owner as provided under AS 28.11.025.

  • A person who claims ownership of an abandoned vehicle shall provide notice of the claim to the vehicle owner of record and to lien holders in the manner prescribed for giving notice by the department under AS 28.05.121. The notice must state the description of the vehicle including VIN, the location of the vehicle and the period of abandonment.
    • Notice may be given either by personal delivery to the person to be notified or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the person at the address of the person as shown in the records of the DMV. The giving of notice by mail is considered complete upon the return of the receipt or upon return of the notice as undeliverable, refused, or unclaimed. Proof of the giving of notice in either manner may be made by the affidavit of the person giving the notice by personal delivery or by mail, naming the person to whom the notice was given and specifying the time, place, and manner of giving the notice.
    • If the vehicle is not registered in this state or the name and address of the registered or legal owner or lien holder cannot be ascertained, notice shall be given by publication in the manner prescribed in the rules of the court for service of process by publication (published in a newspaper located near vehicle owners address of record).
  • If an abandoned vehicle is not reclaimed within 30 days after notice is given a, the title to the vehicle maybe transferred to the owner of the private property on which the vehicle is located.
  • To sell the vehicle the property owner must first have the title transferred to their name. 
  • An abandoned vehicle must be inspected due to the lack of titling documents provided. The inspection is used to verify that the correct VIN is being used to create the title documents and to help in the prevention of theft and fraud.

How to obtain Title

Please bring the following documents to your local DMV

  • Claim Of Ownership Of Abandoned Vehicle By Private Property Owner (Form 825)
  • Application for Title and Registration, completed in full. (Form 812 or 812A)
  • Copy of¬† Notice sent,
  • The completed ¬†return receipt or the notice returned as undeliverable, refused, or unclaimed(unopened)
  • Certificate Of Vehicle Inspection (Form 811) - (Form 811 must be completed by and the vehicle must be physically inspected by a DMV staff member).

Related Topics

You may also need to reference the following information: