This weeks post is about the transfer of unregistered vehicles – yes, you can buy and sell unregistered cars in both Queensland and Victoria but there are specific requirements whether it be VicRoads (Victoria) or Queensland Transport that you have to meet. This week, we will only cover Queensland and Victoria in respect of unregistered vehicle transfers but will at a later date expand the content to other states in Australia.
Some time ago I had experience with selling an unregistered motor vehicle in Queensland and that is what i wanted to write about this week. The vehicle in fact was an old Nissan Bluebird of a garish “Army green color”, it was sold “as is, where is” and unregistered. After starting the article I expanded it to include Victoria where I also sold a vehicle unregistered but this time I sold it by ringing some local wreckers and checking out a tow away price for the vehicle. This was quite a fast process but of course the money I got was cash for the car and at the low end at around $200 paid for the junk car to end up at a wreckers for car parts.
Back to Queensland and the old Nissan car, the issue i had when selling my old Nissan was that the cost to register, insure and fix the car eventually would have been more than the market value of the vehicle. I then decided on deregistering the car and returning the licence plates to Queensland Transport. So what next? The car sat there in my back yard. It was then I placed an advertisement in the auto section of the popular Gumtree.com.au website. These advertisements are free and extremely effective but remember the cost benefit of advertising, taking calls and waiting for buyers to show up has to outweigh the convenience of calling wreckers, getting cash in hand and having the car towed away. Gumtree is an excellent site to start for free car advertisements if you want to go ‘el cheapo and its full of buyers looking for bits and pieces, junk vehicles as well as cars in good condition. If you have something a bit rarer and you want to see how far you can stretch the market then you might want to buy a better ad spot on gumtree and bump up the advert for the car to a more prominant position but generally, free ads worked well for me.
Don’t just rely on my post for information. Visit the relevant roads authority website applicable to your state to get the latest advice. You can ring the transport office, ideally visit online where theres an absolute gold mine of information or you can call into a suburban branch office as listed on their websites.
Online Information – Roads Authority Websites In Your State.
If you are looking for the website for your local transport office check the article I wrote on car donations. Each state is listed in this article. Follow the link here and then navigate to the end of the article where it says “Roads Authority Compliance” you’ll see all the relevant website links for VicRoads, Queensland Transport, RTA if you are in New South Wales, Transport Department in Western Australia or South Australia or Tasmania.
In each state of Australia there are rules relating to selling AND moving unregistered vehicles with obligations to comply on buyers and sellers. Driving unregistered vehicles on public roads as well as trailers or caravans (discussed below) is a big no no and a criminal offence with high penalties imposed on drivers.
As mentioned though, it is perfectly legal to buy or sell an unregistered vehicle in both Queensland and Victoria.
VICTORIA (VIC)– Lets have a look at selling an unregistered vehicle in Victoria.
The VicRoads home page has a wealth of information on its website. Everything is there for reference on how to sell an unregistered motor vehicle in Victoria and is spelt out clearly in a set of steps that you have to take to ensure compliance. As mentioned above, I would advise ringing VicRoads for clarification if you have further questions or wish to follow up on any changes that may have happened since either you last transferred an unregistered vehicle or what you have read here in this post. My aim is to give some general information and this may help you with formulating more specific questions for when you talk to VicRoads.
TRANSFERRING an unregistered motor vehicle in Victoria.
Private Sales: In normal cases where there is vehicle registration involved, the buyer of the vehicle is required to lodge an application to transfer the vehicles registration within fourteen (14) days. Buying a vehicle through a dealer: When you are buying a car from a licensed motor vehicle dealership in Victoria, it is the dealer that is responsible for sending the paperwork to VicRoads. Sales of registered vehicles in Victoria: Motor vehicles currently registered in Victoria have to be sold with a Certificate of Road worthiness (RWC) or commonly referred to as a roadworthy certificate. The names for road worthy certificates may vary in each state such as Queensland for example calls the equivalent a “safety certificate”. I recall at one stage some changes being made to aspects of RWC’s in 2014. Transfer of the vehicles registration can still take place up to 3 months after the vehicles registration expires. After this time, the vehicles registration will be cancelled. It is the sellers responsibility in Victoria to provide the buyer of the vehicle with a Certificate of Road worthiness that is no more than 30 days old from the time the sale of the motor vehicle took place.
VicRoads online Forms – If you are looking for transfer forms you can fill in the “seller” part of the application for transfer of registration form which is downloadable from the VicRoads “forms” page. I’ve placed a link to an example sellers receipt below for transferring a vehicle – see NRMA mention below.
SELLING an unregistered motor vehicle/s in Victoria.
Summary of steps:
Seller must cancel the vehicles registration.
Seller must hand in car licence plates to the VicRoads.
Seller must apply for a refund of registration (proportionate amount) if applicable to the roads authority relevant in each state or territory.
Seller must cancel the vehicles insurance (perhaps you had a simple third party coverage with an insurance company) and memberships eg. RACV or RACQ membership.
Option-A to sell the vehicle – Advertising the vehicle for sale.
A more involved method of selling your unregistered car is to advertise it and deal with buyers who may invariably turn out to be tyre kickers. You many get more money for the vehicle but sometimes you will have to consume a lot of personal time waiting around for people to turn up and then showing the vehicle. You will have to negotiate on a price with prospective buyers, engage in the sales process and hand the buyer a “proof of purchase” receipt.
Option-B to sell the car to a local wrecking yard for parts.
The easiest and most hassle free method is to telephone some local auto wreckers.
If selling the car as a junk car, call around Melbourne wrecking companies for an idea of pickup price for the vehicle and have them collect the vehicle for cash and tow it away. There are many many wreckers advertising so getting one to come and tow the vehicle away wont be hard. It can even be done by the end of the day if they are keen to get out to your house. Remember to get a receipt. Remember to remove the number plates and any items you want to keep from the vehicle. Wrecking yards are always willing to buy but cash offers for your vehicle are usually pre negotiated sight unseen and the price might be lower than what you expected eg. $100-$200 but remember, the costs of towing a junk car from your yard to somewhere else may be a lot more than what you get.
Option-C Car Donations.
Donate the car to charity. which is an article I wrote about car donations. You can donate your old vehicle whether running or not, registered or unregistered it doesn’t matter and this is also an easy way to get rid of your unregistered vehicle quickly and to a good cause such as “Kids Under Cover” (A charity). Local Melbourne car auction group Manheim’s for example auction the vehicles and donate the proceeds to KUC which have programs helping street and underprivelaged kids.
At the time of writing, if you are selling an unregistered car in Victoria a RWC is not required. You should give the buyer proof of purchase, something that proves ownership to the buyer in the form of a written, dated and signed receipt including that of the description of the vehicle ie. VIN or Vehicle ID number and engine number as well as the make and model of the vehicle that you are transferring. The NRMA have an example of a transaction receipt on their website and I guess could downloaded and printed for use by you.
Usually, when the seller is selling an unregistered vehicle they cancel the registration of the vehicle and applies to VicRoads for a refund of the unused portion of the cars registration. You must return the vehicles licence plates to VicRoads also (customised number plates not required to return – there may now be additional forms to declare usage of the kept customised plates eg that you cannot place on any other vehicle). There are a number of VicRoads service centres around, the addresses are online. If you are interstate you hand it to the road transport office in the state that you are in. They will then send on to VicRoads the place. If the plates were lost or stolen its a matter of signing a stat declaration including making report to Victorian Police (If Victorian plates) and providing the copy of the police report to VicRoads.
Here are some other steps to add for buyers of unregistered cars.
STEP 1 – Vehicle searches
Before buying any unregistered vehicle. Check the vehicle out to ensure it is unregistered or is not listed as being stolen, written off or has outstanding motor vehicle finance owing on it. You can do this using the vehicle registration enquiry search which is a free Victorian government service online. A national comprehensive vehicle check is done through the PPSR or Personal Property Securities Register to find out if the vehicle has encumbrances, written off or reported stolen or registered in an territory or state in Australia. Fees apply. If you want to find out more about the PPSR service you can call them on 1300-007-777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 2 – Get proof of purchase from the seller
As mentioned in the opening paragraph above, a clearly written receipt that proves the vehicle is yours.
STEP 3 – Move the vehicle – You need to apply for an unregistered vehicle permit to move the vehicle from the sellers place to where you want to store the car.
This may involve towing eg. flat bed truck or some other means of moving but if you need to drive the vehicle unregistered such as home after its purchase you have to obtain an unregistered vehicle permit. The VicRoads website has more detailed information on unregistered vehicle permits from the VicRoads website. Don’t ever drive an unregistered vehicle on the road, the fines are large – see below.
Lets now look at Queensland.
SELLING an unregistered motor vehicle/s in Queensland.
Like VicRoads the Queensland Transport site has a lot of information laid out in respect of unregistered vehicle sales. You can read more on the Queensland Transport’s website, call into one of their service centres or telephone them. As I found out getting rid of an unregistered Nissan Bluebird at the time wasn’t all that hard and there are a set of processes similar to that above for Victoria. I had more problems with some of the tyre kickers that came around to the house low balling offers.
In Queensland there are Safety Certificates involved usually in the sale of registered vehicles however, with unregistered cars YOU CAN sell a vehicles unregistered WITHOUT a safety certificate. The words safety certificate in Queensland is also referred as a roadworthy certificate.
Like the Victorian example above when buying / selling you need to have a receipt of transaction which a buyer and seller sign and have copies for their own records to prove an exchange of the vehicle has happened and who the owner is.
For purchasers, this is the proof of ownership of the vehicle. When the buyer goes to move the vehicle, again, like the notes on Victoria there is an unregistered vehicle permit which can be applied for through Queensland Transport. The unregistered vehicle permits are also valid for trailers or caravans on Queensland roads that are unregistered but have the intention of being registered. If the vehicle is unsafe to drive you will need to get a tow truck to remove the vehicle from the sellers property.
CTP or compulsory insurance for the length of the permit is required (not for trailers or caravans being towed by a registered motor vehicle) also and its interesting this was mentioned on the Queensland Transport website but at the time of writing I did not see any reference to CTP on the VicRoads website. You will also need an unregistered vehicle permit to move the vehicle interstate EXCEPT WESTERN AUSTRALIA to which it is recommended you contact the WA Transport Department (and is outside the scope of this article).
Like Victoria if you are selling the vehicle unregistered don’t forget to remove the items from the car you need, unscrew the plates and hand them into Queensland Transport. Get a refund on the amount of registration owed also from QT. Work out how you want to get rid of the vehicle eg. advertise on gumtree.com.au’s Brisbane automative section or have the car wreckers come and collect the car if you want a real hassle free solution to car removal. Engage price negotiations (whatever option you chose) with the buyer and sign over the ownership issuing a relevant receipt. Queensland motoring body the RACQ have some further information on their website.
Example Sales Receipt [Pdf Download for printing] –Here you will find a sample sellers receipt from the NRMA which is a motoring organisation based in New South Wales.
What are the penalties for driving an unregistered vehicle?
Theres one piece of advice I have to say that applies to anywhere in all of Australia and that is.. never drive an unregistered vehicle on the road, anywhere. The penalties are very, very high. There are severe fines for using an unregistered motor vehicle or trailer on the public roads in Victoria. This even extends to trailers where you tow an unregistered trailer, leaving both parked unregistered cars and unregistered trailers in the public road, footpath, driveway or car park. This is important for anyone leaving unregistered vehicles in the front of their yard and they may in fact be parking on area dedicated as public open space even though that area may not have a footpath or kerbing in place. I checked the Victorian Government website and found out at the time of writing that the maximum penalty for the first offence for an individual (company 125 penalty units and $18,451 (Note I bolded and underlined that one)) is 25 penalty units or $3,690.
You should also be aware that in Victoria if you have a fine or fines that are unpaid then the Sheriff’s office may take action against you and you may have problems renewing your motor vehicle. The Victorian Sheriff’s office can impose sanctions against the vehicle if you have outstanding warrants for unpaid fines in Victoria. A whole chain of events could happen whereby VicRoads cannot renew your cars registration or prevents you from selling the vehicle and you won’t be able to drive the vehicle on the road because it will be unregistered.
In Queensland, as from 1 October, 2014 an interesting piece appeared in the Queensland Government website. The State Government is introducing Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology which is used to detect if a vehicle is registered or insured in Queensland and these devices are fitted to Queensland Police vehicles.
You might also find this website interesting, it has some legal tips in relation to vehicle transfers in Victoria.