If you are transferring property from one person to another, it is best practice to have a contract that clearly outlines the details of the transfer. This can prevent you from facing potential issues or misunderstandings about the transaction.
Transferring ownership of a vehicle is no different. If you own a car and would like to sign it over to another person, making a sworn declaration before a notary public is the best way to protect the interests of both parties. Whether you’re considering buying or selling a motorcycle, truck, or any other type of vehicle, make sure you are following the appropriate guidelines.
The ramifications of not having a car properly transferred from one person to another can be quite serious. You may be under a different understanding from the buyer so making sure that the paperwork is correct will save you from having trouble down the road.
If you’re pulled over by the police, you need to be able to show ownership of the car and you are not driving a stolen car. Even if you have just purchased it minutes ago, you need to be able to produce paperwork showing you now own the car. This is why being protected by a notarized contract is your best bet. The process of getting a notarized contract is fairly simple. Both the buyer and the seller will need to be present at a notary public and be able to provide proof of identification. You also need to provide a record of the transaction. This protects both parties in case the transaction is questioned in the future. Keep in mind that there are different requirements depending on who you are buying or selling from.
Vehicle Ownership Transfer
Many people choose to sell their vehicle to a family member for a variety of reasons. It’s quite common for family members to sell a car to another family member when they upgrade to a newer model. Regardless of the reason for the sale, there is room for a less formal agreement when you are buying or selling your car to family. However, one thing you should keep in mind is that a car can only be transferred between family members once within a 12-month period.
The first thing that we need to outline is how the government defines family members. It can be:
- A spouse
- a parent or step-parent
- grandparent or step-grandparent
- child or step-child
- grandchild or step-grandchild
- son or daughter-in-law
- mother of father-in-law
- sibling or step-sibling
- half sibling
- adopted sibling
For you to be able to transfer ownership of your vehicle to a family member, you and the family members need to go to a Service Ontario location. There are many locations across the province, but you can look for the nearest one to your home. Be sure to take the following documentation with you:
- Proof of Ontario car insurance.
- Ontario driver’s license.
- Safety Standard Certificate – this is not needed if the transfer is between spouses, however, a spousal declaration will need to be signed and notarized.
- Drive Clean test results – note that this is only required if the car is due for a Drive Clean test and you are making use of the retail tax exemption.Spouses are exempt if they file the spousal declaration, which needs to be notarized.
- vehicle Ownership Permit – the back of this form must be filled out.
- a sworn statement – that has been notarized – for the Family Gift of a Used Motor Vehicle in the Province of Ontario Form.
- the Plate Transfer Declaration this is only needed if the license plate will remain on the vehicle after the sale.
If you are the seller:
When selling your vehicle to someone other than a family member, there is an increased risk and greater need for you to have all of the appropriate paperwork in place. Doing this will greatly minimize the risk of problems later on.
There are a number of steps that you should take when you are transfer Ontario vehicle ownership from one person to another. One of the things you should be sure of is that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the car is consistent with the one listed on your permit, which is the green ownership document.
If you are the seller, you will need to provide the following information:
- A Used Vehicle Information Package
- A signed Bill of Sale, which must include your name, the buyer’s name and address, the date of sale and the price of the car. The Bill of Sale can be prepared by a notary public on your behalf.
- An application for transfer – this can be found on the back of your ownership permit, underneath the vehicle section.
- A certificate that states that the vehicle has met all of the safety standards. This can be obtained from a licensed mechanic that has a sign that says “Ontario Motor Vehicle Inspection Station.”
Keep in mind that you must remove the license plate on your car when you sell it because license plates are retained by the seller and do not go with the vehicle. If this is not done, you may find yourselves paying for parking tickets or speeding tickets that are not yours.
You may want to put in a request with a Service Ontario Center for a refund of any months that you have left on your license plate stickers.
If you are the buyer:
For you to purchase a car in Ontario, we recommend you follow a series of steps to ensure that the car is properly registered in your name.
First, be sure to test drive the car before paying for it. This can eliminate the chance of some surprises later on.
Before buying a used car:
- Look into the history of the car by using a reliable service like Carfax or the Ontario government website. Either of these websites can give you information on how the car was maintained by its previous owner(s). While the car may look like it is in good condition, you want to know if there any recurring issues or notable problems that may affect your decision to make the purchase.
- Look into the vehicle’s emissions test history on the Drive Clean website. Every two years, a Drive Clean emission’s test is required for all vehicles that are seven years or older. In order to conduct a search, you will need the car’s VIN.
- This is not mandatory, however, you can ask the seller to perform a Drive Clean emissions test. This way you will know if the car has any emissions problems before you purchase it.
- Be sure that the seller is the legal registered owner. You can find this out in the Used Vehicle Information Package provided by the seller. You may also want to ask the seller for their driver’s license and see if it matches the one in the registered owner information in the report.
- Make sure that the VIN on the vehicle matches the one on the owner’s permit.
- Check the Used Vehicle Information Report to see if there are any liens or debts on the car.
- Inspect the car to see if there are any visual signs of damage or deterioration before you buy the car.
Transfer of Ownership of a Vehicle Form
Following the sale, you have six days to register the purchase. Follow the instructions below on what you should take with you to the Service Ontario kiosk which processes the registration.
- Your proof of insurance.
- Your Ontario driver’s license.
- The Used Vehicle Information Package.
- A Bill of Sale.
- A Safety Standard Certificate.
- The owner’s permit along with the Application for Transfer portion filled out.
- The odometer reading.