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New York Statute of Limitations & Vehicle Repossession

What is the New York statute of limitations for a vehicle repossession?

Please tell me the years under the statute of limitations for New York state regarding a vehicle repossession.

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In this article:
  • The statute of limitations for many debts in New York is 6 years.
  • The New York statute of limitations for a judgment is 20 years.
  • The expiration of a statute of limitations is a defense that must be raised.

A statute of limitations (SOL) is the time period during which a creditor can take legal action (i.e., sue the debtor) to enforce a debt. Each state has defined its own statutes of limitations, and they vary significantly.

For example, in your state, New York, creditors have six years to sue a debtor to enforce a debt, while in Rhode Island creditors have 10 years. To learn more about statutes of limitations for the collection of debts, see the resources How to Tell Which Statute of Limitations Applies to Your Situation and Statute of Limitations Laws by State to learn basic information about consumer rights in each state. Debtors should consult with an attorney in their state who has experience in debt law to determine if the statute of limitation for the creditor to sue has expired.

If a state’s statute of limitation for the collection of debts has expired, the likelihood of the creditor attempting to sue the debtor to enforce the debt is much less. While the passing of the statute of limitation does not mean that a creditor cannot file a lawsuit, if one is filed the debtor has a defense against the lawsuit.

In most states, the statute of limitation begins running from the date of last payment on the account. This means that if the debtor paid just a few dollars to a collector a couple of years ago, the running statute of limitation for that debt could have been reset. Also, keep in mind that the passage of the statute of limitation does not forbid a creditor from calling to collect on the debt — it simply provides an absolute defense in court if the creditor files suit and the debtor/defendant raises the defense in a timely manner.

New York Statute of Limitations

According to the Laws of New York CVP Article 2 § 213, a plaintiff has six years to take action on a contractual obligation or liability.

Here, it is unclear from the facts provided how the statute of limitations applies to your question. If, to add hypothetical facts to your question, the creditor is asking for additional payments on a vehicle that was paid for completely seven years ago, then the statute of limitations bars the creditor from using the court to collect the alleged remaining payments. (Assuming the debtor raises the statute of limitations defense in a timely manner.)

Or, let us say for the sake of argument that payments for the vehicle stopped and the vehicle was repossessed. The creditor has six years under New York law to file a lawsuit to obtain the deficiency balance.

Or, let us say for the sake of argument payments halted, the creditor sued for breach of contract and obtained a judgment. Under New York law, the statute of limitations to collect a judgment is 20 years.

More Information

See the resource Collection Laws to learn about collection laws in other states.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



(8 Votes)
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  • 35x35
    Apr, 2020

    I had a car loan back in 2012 and car was repoed and I'm just now getting calls about them telling me they have a lawsuit and is scheduled for court in 30 days, their is a statue of limitations in New York of 6 years, this isn't even on my credit report, is this even possible that they say they are taking me to court unless I pay the 4,000 to them?

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2020

      Joyce, I am not a lawyer. I wlll share some information with you, but please do not take anything I share as legal advice.

      If you defaulted on the loan more than six years ago, then you can use the statute of limitations on debt as an affirmative defense, if you are sued. Statute of limitations questions can be tricky. There are actions a debtor can take that stop the clock running on the SOL, such as filing for bankruptcy or moving abroad.

      There are also actions that can restart the clock on the SOL, such as making a payment on the debt. If you pay this debt collector $1 that would give them a new six year period to come after you. 

      If you did not stop the clock from running or restart it, then be careful what you say to them If I were in your shoes, I would not speak with them, aside from making it clear they have your current address. If they contact you via mail, validate the debt. If they sue you be sure to go to court and assert the SOL. They could be trying to trick you into restarting the clock or paying them when you would be able to avoid doing so.

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2020

    Who can file the judgement, the original creditor or a collection company that has the debt?

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2020

      Either the creditor or the collection can, whichever is legally in possession of the debt.

  • MM
    New York, NY,
    Dec, 2010
    Debt Consolidations
  • TG
    New York, NY,
    Dec, 2010
    thank you for this information. It is very helpful