DMS (DMV) Record Keeping Requirements

NOTICE:  The information below was obtained directly from the Division of Motorist Services website. Links are provided so you may access the content on the DMS website.

FAST FACTS 

  1. Records may be maintained in either paper or electronic form.
  2. Records must be maintained for no less than five (5) years.
  3. Records inspections are conducted periodically by the Division of Motorist Services (formerly known as the DMV). See Post regarding “Records Inspections.”
  4. All records required to be maintained are listed below.

The Division of Motorist Services provides the following guidelines in its Florida Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle Dealers’ Handbook, 14th Edition, 2014 (pages 83-88).

The following is a list of records that dealers are required to maintain:

1. The purchase, sale or exchange, or receipt for purpose of sale, of any motor vehicle, mobile home or recreational vehicle.
2. The date a temporary tag was issued.
3. The date of title transfer.
4. The name and address of the purchaser.
5. The alleged owner or the person from whom such motor vehicle, mobile home, or recreational vehicle was purchased or received.
6. The name and address of the person to whom the motor vehicle, mobile home, or recreational vehicle was sold or delivered.
7. The vehicle description, identification number or engine number, maker’s number, if any, chassis number, if any, and such other numbers or identification marks as may be thereon, and will also include a statement that a number has been obliterated, defaced, or changed, if such is the fact.
8. The statutes which require dealers to maintain records also provide that the Department will prescribe or approve the form in which the records are to be maintained. The Department has chosen to specify the data elements that must be maintained but will only suggest rather than mandate a specific form or format for records maintenance.

When a licensee chooses to maintain electronic records, the original paper documents may be destroyed after the licensee successfully transfers title and registration to the purchaser as required by chapter 319 for any purchaser who titles and registers the motor vehicle in this state. In the case of a sale to a purchaser who will title and register the motor vehicle in another state or country, the licensee may destroy the original paper documents after successfully delivering a lawfully reassigned title or manufacturer’s certificate or statement of origin to the purchaser and after producing electronic images of all documents related to the sale.

Section 320.771(10), Florida Statutes, provides that, “(a) the licensee shall also have in their possession for each new recreational vehicle a manufacturer’s invoice or statement of origin.

For each used recreational vehicle in the possession of a licensee and offered for sale, the licensee either shall have in their possession or control a duly assigned certificate of title from the owner in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 319, Florida Statutes, or a registration certificate if the used recreational vehicle was previously registered in a nontitle state, from the time when the vehicle is delivered to the licensee and offered for sale by them until it has been disposed of by the licensee, or shall have reasonable indicia of ownership or right of possession, or shall have made proper application for a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 319, Florida Statutes. A dealer may not sell or offer for sale a vehicle in their possession unless the dealer satisfies the requirements of this subsection.

Reasonable indicia of ownership shall include:

  1. a duly assigned certificate of title;
  2. in the case of a new vehicle, a manufacturer’s certificate of origin issued to or reassigned to the dealer;
  3. a consignment contract between the owner and the dealer along with a secure power of attorney from the owner to the dealer authorizing the dealer to apply for a duplicate certificate of title and assign the title on behalf of the owner;
  4. a court order awarding title to the vehicle to the dealer;
  5. a salvage certificate of title;
  6. a photocopy of a duly assigned certificate of title being held by a financial institution as collateral for a business loan of money to the dealer (“floor plan”);
  7. a copy of a canceled check or other documentation evidencing that an outstanding lien on a vehicle taken in trade by a licensed dealer has been satisfied and that the certificate of title will be, but has not yet been, received by the dealer;
  8. a vehicle purchase order or installment contract for a specific vehicle identifying that vehicle as a trade-in on a replacement vehicle;
  9. or a duly executed odometer disclosure statement as required by Title IV of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972 (Pub. L. No. 92-513, as amended by Pub. L. No. 94-364 87 |Page and Pub. L. No. 100-561) and by 49 C.F.R. part 580 bearing the signatures of the titled owners of a traded-in vehicle.
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