PA 14-63—HB 5459

Transportation Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADOPTION OF THE UNIFORM CERTIFICATE OF TITLE FOR VESSELS ACT

SUMMARY: This act enacts the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act, which creates a certificate of title system for certain vessels that are principally used on Connecticut waters. It generally requires owners to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a certificate when a vessel's ownership changes or Connecticut becomes the vessel's state of principal use. But the act does not apply to a number of different types of vessels, most notably those (1) with a model year of 2016 or earlier, (2) less than 19. 5 feet long unless they are motor boats, or (3) covered by federal documentation or a foreign country's registry.

The act makes a certificate of title prima facie evidence of ownership, sets rules for perfecting security interests on certificates and indicating transfers of interests in vessels, establishes penalties for fraudulent acts related to certificates, and requires DMV to maintain certain information in indexed files for public searches. The act also allows DMV to adopt regulations to implement the act's provisions but requires regulations for certain subjects.

The act establishes the fees DMV can charge for certificate filings and searches.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016

5 & 6 — CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENT

The act requires the owner of certain vessels principally used in Connecticut to apply to DMV, with the appropriate fee, for a certificate of title within 20 days after the later of (1) obtaining ownership or (2) Connecticut becoming the state on whose waters the vessel is or will be used, operated, navigated, or employed more than on the waters of any other state during a year (i. e. , state of principal use).

Under the act, a vessel becomes covered by a certificate of title when an application and fee are delivered to (1) DMV or (2) the agency that creates a certificate in another jurisdiction. The law of the jurisdiction of the vessel's certificate of title governs all issues relating to the certificate from the time the certificate covers the vessel until it (1) is covered by another certificate or (2) becomes a documented vessel. This applies even if there is no relationship between the jurisdiction and the vessel or its owner.

Vessels Excluded from the Certificate Requirement

The act prohibits issuing a certificate of title for a:

1. vessel designated by the manufacturer as having a model year of 2016 or earlier;

2. vessel, other than a motor boat, that is less than 19. 5 feet in length;

3. vessel propelled solely by paddle or oar;

4. seaplane on water;

5. documented vessel (a vessel covered by a certificate of documentation issued by the U. S. Coast Guard under federal law, which applies to some large vessels and those owned by a federal entity);

6. foreign-documented vessel (a vessel recorded in another country's registry that identifies ownership interests and includes a unique alphanumeric designation for the vessel);

7. barge;

8. amphibious vehicle covered by a motor vehicle certificate of title in this or another state;

9. vessel operating only on a permanently fixed, manufactured course with movement restricted to or guided by a mechanical device that is attached to or controls the watercraft;

10. vessel owned by the United States, a foreign government, a state, or a political subdivision and used for government functions;

11. vessel used solely as a lifeboat on another watercraft;

12. vessel before delivery if it is under construction or completed under a contract;

13. vessel held by a dealer for sale or lease;

14. stationary floating structure that (a) does not have and is not designed to have its own propulsion; (b) needs a continuous hookup to shore for utilities; and (c) does not have sewage facilities or has a permanent, continuous hookup to shore for sewage;

15. vessel manufactured or assembled before January 1, 2017, for which the manufacturer or assembler has not designated a model year; or

16. vessel with a certificate from another state that becomes principally used in Connecticut but cannot receive a certificate in Connecticut under the act's provisions.

These exceptions do not apply to a vessel principally used in Connecticut that was a documented or foreign-documented vessel but no longer is.

DMV cannot issue, transfer, or renew a certificate issued as required by federal law (this applies to certain vessels not documented under federal law) unless DMV (1) created the certificate or (2) receives an application and fee for a certificate.

7 — CERTIFICATE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

With exceptions specified in the act, only an owner can apply for a certificate of title. The owner must file and sign an application form prescribed by the DMV commissioner, containing:

1. the applicant's name, principal residential street address, and, if different, mailing address;

2. the name and mailing address of each other owner of the vessel;

3. the vessel's hull identification number or an application to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for one;

4. the vessel number or an application for one (existing law requires owners to register most vessels and obtain vessel registration numbers from DMV);

5. a description of the vessel as required by DMV, including (a) any official number assigned by the U. S. Coast Guard; (b) the manufacturer's, builder's, or maker's name; (c) the vessel's model year or the year its construction was completed; and (d) the vessel's length, type, hull material, and propulsion, engine drive, and fuel types;

6. all security interests in the vessel known to the applicant and the secured parties' names and mailing addresses;

7. a statement that the vessel is not a documented or foreign-documented vessel;

8. any title brand (a designation of previous damage, use, or condition described in a certificate) known to the applicant and the jurisdiction under whose law it was created;

9. if the application is made because of a transfer of ownership, the transfer date, sales price, and transferor's name, street address, and mailing address, if different;

10. a statement identifying any jurisdiction known to the applicant where the vessel was registered or titled previously; and

11. any further information the DMV commissioner reasonably requires to identify the vessel and determine whether (a) the owner is entitled to a certificate and (b) any security interests exist.

The act allows an application to contain the owner's, transferor's, or secured party's email address.

With specific exceptions, the act also requires the application to include a certificate of title signed by the owner shown on the certificate that (1) identifies the applicant as the owner or (2) is accompanied by a record that identifies the applicant as the owner. When there is no certificate of title, the owner must submit:

1. if the vessel was a documented vessel, a U. S. Coast Guard record showing the (a) vessel is no longer a documented vessel and (b) applicant is the owner;

2. if the vessel was a foreign-documented vessel, a record from the foreign country showing the (a) vessel is no longer a foreign-documented vessel and (b) applicant is the owner; or

3. in all other cases, a certificate of origin (a record created by a manufacturer or importer as proof of a vessel's identity, other than a builder's certificate), bill of sale, or other record that, to DMV's satisfaction, identifies the applicant as the owner.

The act makes a record submitted in connection with an application part of the application and requires DMV to keep the record in its files.

Under the act, DMV may also require payment or evidence of payment of any or all fees and taxes payable by the applicant under state law, other than fees paid in connection with the application or the vessel's acquisition or use.

8 — CERTIFICATE CREATION, REJECTION, OR CANCELLATION

The act requires DMV to create a certificate for a vessel after delivery of an application that satisfies the act's requirements. But DMV must reject an application if the vessel is a documented or foreign-documented vessel. It can reject an application if:

1. it does not comply with the act or state law,

2. it does not contain sufficient documentation to determine whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate, or

3. there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the application is fraudulent or issuing a certificate would facilitate fraud or an illegal act.

The act allows DMV to cancel (make ineffective) a certificate it created if DMV:

1. could have rejected the application under the act's requirements,

2. must cancel it under the act's provisions, or

3. receives satisfactory evidence that the vessel is a documented or foreign-documented vessel.

9 & 29 — CONTENTS OF CERTIFICATE

The act requires a certificate of title to contain:

1. the date it was created;

2. the owner of record's name and mailing address and, if not all owners are listed, an indication that there are additional owners in DMV's files;

3. the hull identification number;

4. a description of the vessel, including the information the owner must submit in the application;

5. the name and mailing address of the secured party of record, if any, and, if there are unlisted secured parties, an indication that there are other security interests in DMV's files;

6. all title brands indicated in DMV files including those from a certificate created by another jurisdiction that was delivered to DMV (the certificate must state the jurisdiction that created the title brand or the certificate containing it and, if the title brand's meaning is not readily ascertainable or cannot be accommodated, state “previously branded in (name of jurisdiction)”); and

7. other information the DMV commissioner requires.

The act permits DMV to note on a certificate the name and mailing address of a secured party that is not a secured party of record. DMV must indicate on the certificate that the vessel was registered or titled in a foreign country if information in DMV's files indicates it.

The act requires a written certificate of title to contain a form that (1) allows all owners indicated on the certificate to sign to consent to a transfer of an ownership interest and (2) includes a certification, signed under penalty of false statement, that the statements made are true and correct to the best of each owner's knowledge, information, and belief.

Statement About Security Interests

The act requires a certificate of title to state that the vessel may be subject to security interests not shown on the certificate when (1) Connecticut becomes the vessel's state of principal use in place of another state, (2) the vessel was not a documented or foreign-documented vessel immediately before the certificate application, and (3) the vessel's immediately previous state of principal use did not issue or does not require a certificate of title for the vessel.

8 & 11 — WRITTEN OR ELECTRONIC CERTIFICATES

The act imposes the following rules on creating written or electronic certificates.

1. If DMV creates electronic certificates of title, it can only issue a written one on application by the secured party of record (the secured party indicated in DMV's files or the first secured party indicated if there is more than one) or, if none, owner of record (the owner indicated in DMV's files or the first owner indicated if there is more than one).

2. DMV must send a written certificate to the secured party or owner of record at the person's address in DMV's files.

3. DMV must send a record evidencing an electronic certificate to the owner of record and, if there is one, secured party of record, at the person's mailing address or any electronic address indicated.

4. Creating a written certificate cancels an electronic certificate and DMV must maintain the date and time of cancellation in its files.

5. A person holding a written certificate must surrender it to DMV before DMV can create an electronic certificate.

6. If DMV creates an electronic certificate, it must destroy or cancel the surrendered written certificate and maintain the date and time of destruction or cancellation in its files. If a written certificate is not destroyed, DMV must indicate on the certificate's face that it has been cancelled.

12 — CERTIFICATE AS EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP

The act makes a certificate of title prima facie evidence of the accuracy of the information in it and a certified copy of it prima facie evidence of ownership in a criminal proceeding.

17 — INACCURATE OR INCOMPLETE INFORMATION

A certificate of title or other record required or authorized by the act is effective even if it contains incorrect information or does not contain required information, subject to the law regarding priority of security interests in goods covered by a certificate of title.

21 — REPLACEMENT CERTIFICATES

When a written certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, unavailable, or illegible, the act allows the secured party of record or, if there is none in DMV's files, the owner of record, to apply for a replacement certificate. The application must be signed and, except as otherwise permitted by DMV, meet the requirements for an original application. It must include the existing certificate unless it is unavailable.

The act requires a replacement certificate to contain the same information as an original, with an indication that it is a replacement. If a person receiving a replacement certificate subsequently obtains the original written certificate, he or she must destroy the original.

10 & 33 — DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION IN DMV FILES

For each record relating to a certificate of title, the act requires DMV to maintain (1) the hull identification number and (2) all the information submitted with the application to which the record relates, including the date and time the record was delivered to DMV. DMV must maintain the files for public inspection and index them.

DMV must maintain in its files (1) the information contained in all certificates it creates, searchable by the vessel's number, hull identification number, owner of record's name, and any other method DMV uses; (2) all title brands and names of secured parties and people claiming an ownership interest that DMV knows about; and (3) all stolen-property reports received.

The act requires DMV to give federal, state, or local governments the information in its files relating to any vessel for which it issued a certificate, on request, for safety, security, or law-enforcement purposes.

The act makes information in a certificate of title a public record and allows DMV to disclose records related to vessels and their certificates of title. The law otherwise limits when DMV may disclose personal information or permit inspection of motor vehicle records containing personal information.

24 — DMV RETENTION OF EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION

The act requires DMV to retain:

1. the evidence used to determine the accuracy of information in its files relating to the current ownership of a vessel and the information on the certificate of title and

2. all information received regarding a security interest in a vessel for at least 10 years after receiving a termination statement for the security interest, with the information accessible by hull identification number and other methods DMV uses.

24 — REQUESTS TO DMV FOR INFORMATION

The act requires DMV to send or make available in a record certain information to anyone who requests it and pays all applicable fees. Generally, DMV must disclose whether its files include a certificate of title, security interest, termination statement, or title brand for a vessel identified by a hull identification or vessel number or owner. The information must be as of a date and time specified by DMV, but no more than 10 calendar days before receiving the request. For a request related to a vessel, DMV must provide:

1. the name and address of any owner or secured party in the files or on the certificate of title, the effective date of information related to a secured party, and a copy of any termination statement in the files and its effective date and

2. a copy of any vessel certificate of origin, secured party transfer statement, transfer-by-law statement, and other evidence of previous or current transfers of ownership.

The act allows DMV to provide requested information in any medium but, on request and payment of fees, must provide it in a written document.

Acknowledgment of Submissions

The act allows a person who submits a record or information to DMV to request an acknowledgment of the submission. DMV must send an acknowledgment showing the (1) hull identification number of the vessel to which the record or submission relates, (2) information in the filed record or submission, and (3) date and time the record was received or the submission was accepted. The request must contain the hull identification number and be delivered by DMV-authorized means.

28 — DMV FEES

The act sets various DMV fees and charges, as displayed in Table 1. The act exempts from these fees vessels (1) leased to a state agency or (2) owned by the state, a state agency, or a municipality.

Table 1: DMV Fees Created by the Act

Document or Service

Fee

Application for certificate of title

$25

Security interest or assignment of one noted on a certificate or maintained in the electronic title file

$10

Record copy search

$20

Application for a replacement certificate (but a fee for the duplicate certificate is not required)

$25

Filing (1) notice of a security interest, (2) assignment of a security interest, or (3) termination statement relating to a security interest

$10

Filing (1) secured party's transfer statement or (2) transfer-by-law statement

$25

Filing application for transfer of ownership or termination of a security interest without a certificate of title

$25

Certificate of search of DMV records, for each name or hull identification number searched

$20

Search of a vessel certificate of title record, when requested by someone other than the vessel's owner of record

$20

Certified copy of any document, information, or record maintained or created by DMV

$20

The act requires DMV to collect a penalty equal to the amount of the required fee if an application, certificate, or other document which the act requires to be delivered to DMV is not delivered within 10 days after its due date.

29-31 — DMV PROCEEDINGS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS

The act requires the DMV commissioner to prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications, certificates of title, notices of security interests, and all other notices and forms necessary to carry out the act's provisions.

To carry out the act's provisions, the commissioner can (1) conduct necessary investigations to procure required information and (2) adopt and enforce reasonable rules.

The act requires the commissioner to adopt regulations about including title brands on certificates of title. The commissioner must consider whether special branding categories like “hull damaged” should be included. The act allows the commissioner to adopt regulations to (1) implement the act's provisions and (2) place additional indications on a certificate concerning the condition or status of a vessel's title.

These regulations must provide an opportunity for a hearing for anyone aggrieved by any DMV action, omission, or decision. Under the act, an aggrieved person (1) is entitled to an administrative hearing on request and (2) can appeal to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Britain after completing the administrative proceedings.

14 — SECURITY INTERESTS IN VESSELS

By law, a creditor's interest (a “security interest”) can attach to the debtor's property. A secured party who “perfects” his or her security interest has priority over other parties, such as a creditor who gets a judicial lien, bankruptcy trustee, and others who later take a security interest in the collateral.

Under the act, a security interest in a vessel is generally the same as for other secured transactions. The act specifies that it does not include the special property interest of a buyer of a vessel on identification of that vessel to a contract for sale, but the buyer may also acquire a security interest by complying with the secured transaction laws. Except as provided in other law, the act provides that a seller's or lessor's rights under the Uniform Commercial Code to retain or acquire possession of the vessel is not a security interest, but he or she may acquire a security interest by complying with the secured transactions law. The retention or reservation of title by a seller of a vessel notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer under the Uniform Commercial Code's provisions is limited to a reservation of a security interest.

Previously, a security interest in a vessel was usually perfected by filing a financing statement in the secretary of the state's office. The act instead requires filing an application with DMV (1) for a certificate of title or (2) to add a security interest to a certificate already created by DMV.

For an application for a certificate of title, the act specifies that identifying someone as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor alone does not make someone a secured party.

When a DMV-issued certificate of title already exists, the act allows DMV to set the application form for perfecting an interest but requires it to include the owner's or secured party's signature and the:

1. owner of record's name;

2. secured party's name and mailing address;

3. vessel's hull identification number; and

4. certificate, if DMV created a written one.

When Security Interest Perfected

Under the act, perfection occurs on the later of the application's delivery and payment of applicable fees to DMV or attachment of the security interest under the law of secured transactions.

New Certificate

On delivery of an application and payment of applicable fees, the act requires DMV to create a new certificate and deliver it in the same way it creates an original certificate. DMV must maintain in its files the date and time of an application's delivery to the department.

Assignment

Under the act, if a secured party assigns a perfected security interest in a vessel, DMV need not receive a statement providing the assignee's name as a secured party to continue the perfected status of the security interest against creditors of, and transferees from, the original debtor. But a purchaser who obtains a release from the secured party indicated in the DMV files or on the certificate takes the vessel free of the security interest and the transferee's rights unless the transfer is indicated in DMV's files or on the certificate.

Exceptions from the Security Interest Requirements

The act excludes from these provisions security interests in a vessel:

1. that is inventory (a) held for sale or lease by the person creating the interest or (b) leased by the person as lessor if the person is in the business of selling vessels;

2. for which a certificate of title is not permitted; or

3. before delivery, if the vessel is under construction, or completed, pursuant to contract and for which no application for a certificate has been delivered to DMV.

Other Provisions

The act preserves perfection of a security interest for four months or until it is perfected under the act, whichever is sooner, when (1) a certificate of documentation for a documented vessel is deleted or cancelled and (2) a security interest in the vessel was valid, immediately before deletion or cancellation, against a third party as a result of compliance with federal law.

For certain types of security interests in a vessel, the act specifies that the interest is perfected on attachment but becomes unperfected when the debtor possesses the vessel, unless the security interest was perfected before then under the act. This applies to Uniform Commercial Code provisions governing reservations of security interests after passage of title or a seller's shipment of goods and a buyer's or lessee's security interest on rejection of goods.

The act requires provisions of other secured transactions law to apply to security interests (1) in a vessel as proceeds of other collateral or (2) perfected under the law of another jurisdiction.

15 — TERMINATION STATEMENT BY SECURED PARTY

Under the act, a security interest ceases to be perfected when a termination statement authorized by the secured party is delivered to DMV. The act sets the following rules for these termination statements.

1. A secured party must deliver a termination statement on a DMV-prescribed form to DMV and, on the debtor's request, to the debtor, within (a) 20 days after receiving a signed demand for a termination statement from an owner, when there is no obligation secured by the vessel and no commitment to make advances, incur obligations, or give value secured by the vessel or (b) if the vessel is a consumer good, 30 days after there is no obligation secured by the vessel and no commitment to make advances, incur obligations, or give value secured by the vessel.

2. When a termination statement is required and the secured party has a DMV-issued written certificate of title, the secured party must deliver the certificate to the debtor or DMV with the statement. If the certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, unavailable, or illegible, the act requires the secured party to deliver with the statement an application for a replacement certificate.

3. If the security interest was indicated on the certificate of title, DMV must create a new certificate and deliver it or a record evidencing an electronic certificate. DMV must maintain in its files the date and time the statement was delivered.

4. A secured party who does not comply with these requirements is liable for (a) any loss that the secured party had reason to know might result from failure to comply and that could not reasonably have been prevented and (b) the cost of an application for a certificate of title.

The act allows the DMV commissioner to require a secured party to submit a termination statement electronically.

27 — SECURITY INTERESTS CREATED BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2016

A security interest enforceable before January 1, 2016 (the date the act takes effect) that has priority over the rights of someone who becomes a lien creditor at that time is a perfected security interest under the act. Under the act, a “lien creditor” is a creditor with a lien on the vessel by attachment, levy, or similar means; an assignee for benefit of creditors from the time of assignment; a bankruptcy trustee from the date the petition is filed; or a receiver in equity from the time of appointment.

A security interest in a vessel required to have a certificate of title under the act that is perfected before January 1, 2016 remains perfected until (1) the time perfection would end under the law that created the perfection or (2) January 1, 2019, whichever is earlier.

The act does not affect the priority of a security interest that was enforceable and perfected and had its priority established before January 1, 2016.

23 — RIGHTS OF SECURED PARTIES

The act provides that perfection, nonperfection, and priority of a security interest with respect to a purchaser's or creditor's rights, including a lien creditor, are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code with the following exception.

If a security interest in a vessel is perfected under the act's provisions and DMV creates a certificate of title that does not indicate that the vessel is subject to the security interest or contain a statement that it may be subject to security interests not indicated on the certificate:

1. a buyer of the vessel, other than someone in the business of selling or leasing vessels of that kind, takes it free of the security interest if the buyer, acting in good faith and without knowledge of the security interest, gives value and receives possession of the vessel and

2. the security interest is subordinate to a conflicting security interest in the vessel perfected under the act's provisions after creation of the certificate and without the secured party's knowledge of the conflicting security interest.

16 & 18-20 — TRANSFERS

16 — Voluntary Transfer of Ownership Interest

The act sets the following rules for voluntarily transferring an ownership interest in a vessel covered by a certificate of title.

1. If the certificate of title is written and notes the transferor's interest, the transferor must sign it and deliver it to the transferee. If the transferor does not possess the certificate, the person who does must help the transferor comply with this requirement. A secured party does not have a duty to do so if the security agreement prohibits the proposed transfer.

2. If the certificate of title is electronic, the transferor must sign and deliver to the transferee a record showing the transfer of ownership.

3. The transferee can require the transferor to perform these duties to meet these requirements.

Creating a certificate of title that identifies the transferee as the owner of record satisfies the act's requirements.

Failing to comply with these provisions or apply for a new certificate does not make the transfer ineffective. But, except as otherwise provided by the act, a transfer that does not comply with these provisions is not effective against another person claiming an interest in the vessel.

The act provides that a transferor who complies with these provisions is not liable as an owner for events occurring after the transfer, regardless of whether the transferee applies for a new certificate of title.

18 — Secured Party's Transfer Statement

The act allows a secured party to file a “secured party's transfer statement” with DMV when the secured party of record (the first secured party indicated in DMV's files) has a right to transfer ownership in the vessel due to default on an obligation.

Under the act, the secured party must sign the statement which indicates:

1. there has been a default on an obligation to the secured party of record secured by the vessel;

2. that party is exercising or has exercised post-default remedies with respect to the vessel and, as a result, has the right to transfer an owner's interest (and must state the owner's name);

3. the name and last-known mailing address of the owner of record and the secured party of record;

4. the transferee's name;

5. other information that the act requires in an application for a certificate; and

6. that either the (a) certificate of title is electronic or (b) the secured party is delivering the written certificate of title to DMV with the transfer statement or does not possess the written certificate created in the owner of record's name.

After delivery of the statement to DMV, and payment of fees and taxes other than under the act, connected with the statement or the acquisition or use of the vessel, the act requires DMV to:

1. accept the statement;

2. amend its files to reflect the transfer; and

3. if the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title, (a) cancel the certificate even if it has not been delivered to DMV, (b) create a new certificate with the transferee as owner, and (c) deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.

The act allows DMV to reject a secured party's transfer statement if (1) the application does not comply with the act's or existing law's requirements, (2) the application lacks information to determine whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate, or (3) there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the application is fraudulent or issuance would facilitate fraud or illegal acts.

An application for or the creation of a certificate of title under these provisions does not dispose of the vessel or relieve the secured party of its duties under the law on secured transactions.

19 — Transfer by Operation of Law

The act allows a transferee to sign a “transfer-by-law statement” stating that he or she has acquired or has the right to acquire an ownership interest in a vessel pursuant to law or judicial order (1) because of death, divorce, or other family law proceeding, merger, consolidation, dissolution, or bankruptcy; (2) by exercising the rights of a lien creditor or a person having a lien created by statute or rule of law; or (3) through some other legal process.

Under the act, the statement must contain:

1. the name and last-known mailing address of the owner of record and transferee and other information required in an application for a certificate;

2. documentation sufficient to establish the transferee's ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest;

3. a statement that the (a) certificate of title is electronic or (b) transferee is delivering the written certificate to DMV with the statement or does not possess the written certificate created in the name of the owner of record; and

4. except for transfers because of death, divorce, or other family law proceeding, merger, consolidation, dissolution, or bankruptcy, evidence that notification of the transfer and the intent to file the statement has been sent to all people indicated in DMV's files as having an interest, including a security interest, in the vessel.

The act requires DMV to accept the statement after delivery and payment of fees and taxes, except for those under the act. DMV must also:

1. amend its files to reflect the transfer and

2. if the name of the owner whose interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title, (a) cancel the certificate even if it has not been delivered to the department, (b) create a new certificate indicating the transferee as owner, (c) indicate on the new certificate any security interest indicated on the cancelled certificate, unless a court order provides otherwise, and (d) deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.

The act allows DMV to reject a transfer-by-law statement for the same reasons it may reject a secured party's transfer statement or if the statement does not include satisfactory documentation as to the transferee's ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest.

The act specifies that these provisions do not apply to a transfer of an interest in a vessel by a secured party on default.

20 — Application for Transfer of Ownership or Termination of Security Interest Without Certificate

If DMV receives an application for a new certificate due to transfer of ownership or a termination statement from a secured party, without a signed certificate, the act allows DMV to create a new certificate if the:

1. act's requirements for creating a certificate are met;

2. applicant provides an affidavit showing he or she is entitled to a transfer of ownership or termination statement;

3. (a) applicant provides satisfactory evidence in a DMV-prescribed form that notification of the application was sent to the owner of record and all people indicated in DMV's files as having an interest in the vessel, (b) at least 45 days have passed since notice was sent, and (c) DMV has not received an objection; and

4. applicant submits any other information DMV requires as evidence of ownership or the right to terminate a security interest and there is no credible information of theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the vessel.

The act requires DMV to indicate on a new certificate that it was created without having a signed certificate or termination statement. If DMV does not receive credible information of theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied claim within one year after creating the certificate, it must remove the indication from the certificate on request in a form and manner it requires.

Before creating a new certificate for a vessel with a value of at least $5,000 as determined by DMV, the act allows DMV to require the applicant to post a bond or provide an indemnity or security equal to twice the vessel's value. The bond, indemnity, or security must be in a form required by DMV and provide for indemnification of any owner, purchaser, or claimant for any expense, loss, delay, or damage. This includes reasonable attorney's fees and costs but not incidental or consequential damages from creating or amending the certificate.

If DMV does not receive a claim within one year of creating a certificate, the act requires it to release any bond, indemnity, or security on request in a form and manner it requires.

3-4, 13, & 25-27 — APPLICATION OF THE ACT'S PROVISIONS

The act provides the following rules for applying its provisions.

1. The act applies to any transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel, even if the transaction was entered into or the document was created before January 1, 2016.

2. The rights, duties, and interests from a transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel that was validly entered into or created before January 1, 2016 that would have been subject to the act's provisions if occurring after that date, remain valid.

3. The act does not affect an action or proceeding begun before January 1, 2016.

4. Unless the act's provisions provide otherwise, the principals of law and equity supplement them.

The act specifies that:

1. possession of a certificate of title does not, by itself, provide a right to obtain possession of a vessel;

2. garnishment, attachment, levy, replevin, or other judicial process against the certificate is not effective to determine possessory rights to the vessel;

3. it does not prohibit enforcement under other law of a security interest in, levy on, or foreclosure of a lien on a vessel; and

4. absence of an indication of a lien on a certificate does not invalidate the lien.

In applying and construing its provisions, the act requires consideration of the need to promote uniformity with respect to its subject matter among states that have enacted the uniform provisions.

The act provides that it modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN). But it does not (1) modify, limit, or supersede E-SIGN's provisions on consumer disclosures (such as when consumers are considered to have consented to electronic disclosures) or (2) authorize electronic delivery of specified notices that are not subject to E-SIGN.

22 — BUYERS IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF BUSINESS

The act provides that a buyer in the ordinary course of business has certain protections under the Uniform Commercial Code even if (1) an existing certificate of title has not been signed and delivered to the buyer or (2) a new certificate listing the buyer as owner of record was not created. The protections concern (1) goods entrusted to a merchant with power to transfer rights to a buyer in the ordinary course of business and (2) buyers in the ordinary course generally taking goods free of a security interest created by the seller even if the security interest is perfected and the buyer knows about it.

Except as otherwise provided in the act, the act specifies that the rights of a vessel's purchaser, who is not a buyer in the ordinary course of business or a lien creditor, are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.

32 — PENALTIES FOR FRAUD

The act punishes, with one to five years in prison, a fine of $500 to $1,000, or both, anyone who, with fraudulent intent:

1. alters, forges, or counterfeits a certificate of title;

2. alters or forges an assignment of a certificate of title or an assignment or release of a security interest or a termination statement, on a certificate of title or DMV form;

3. possesses or uses a certificate of title knowing it is altered, forged, or counterfeited; or

4. uses a false or fictitious name or address, makes a material false statement, fails to disclose a security interest, or conceals any other material fact in an application for a certificate of title.

The act punishes, with up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, anyone who:

1. with fraudulent intent, permits someone who is not entitled to do so to use or possess a certificate of title;

2. willfully fails to deliver an application for a certificate to DMV within 10 days after the time required by the act;

3. willfully fails to deliver to a transferee a certificate of title within 10 days after the time required by the act; or

4. willfully violates any of the act's provisions where the act does not otherwise provide a criminal penalty.

OLR Tracking: CR: JO: JKL: am