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Car transfer – how to proceed and what to look out for

You have signed a purchase contract for the car, but the original owner is still the official owner. What is the correct procedure for transferring the car, what will you need and why is it not worth relying on verbal agreements? We’ll answer everything in this article.

Převod auta – jak postupovat a na co si dát pozor
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Chapters of the article

How to transfer a car to a new owner?

Previously, the transfer of a car into personal ownership could not be done without a deregistration and subsequent re-registration by the new owner. Fortunately, today the whole process is much simpler, although there are considerable risks involved. A single visit to the vehicle registry at any local authority is all it takes to complete the transfer . If the application for registration of a road vehicle in the vehicle register is submitted together and accompanied by all the necessary documents, the existing owner will have greater certainty that he has fulfilled the legal obligation to transfer the car within the prescribed time limit.

Anavailable solicitor advises, “Applying to register the vehicle immediately avoids the problems encountered in practice when the new owner does not transfer the car. If the parties are at opposite ends of the country, then a power of attorney for the transfer of the car and penalty clauses in the car purchase agreement are the solution.”

What do I need to transfer my car?

It only takes a few minutes to transfer the car at the office. All you need to do is submit a completed car transfer form to the Road Vehicle Register,

and bring the following documents with you:

  • proof of vehicle acquisition – car purchase contract (or lease contract), invoice, inheritance decision,
  • small and large technical certificate,
  • proof of identity of both parties, or power of attorney to transfer the car,
  • for entrepreneurs, a trade certificate or concession deed may also be required, for legal entities, a certified extract from the commercial register may be required,
  • a vehicle registration inspection report, which must not be older than 30 days,
  • proof of statutory vehicle insurance.

It is some of these documents, which cannot be easily obtained, that can cause considerable difficulties later on.

Tip: You can use a sample car purchase agreement written by the Affordable Lawyer team.

The registration plate no longer changes when the vehicle is transferred

Even after the application for registration of a change of owner or operator of a road vehicle has been processed and the car has been transferred to another district, the original registration plates remain. However, the new owner can apply for a change.

He/she shall state the reason in the application for the registration plate. In case of damage, the administrative fee is CZK 450 per car.

In addition, since 2016, the possibility of assigning so-called registration plates on request has been introduced. These cannot contain the letters G, CH, O, Q and W and must have at least one number. Defamatory and racist words or abbreviations of public ornaments are prohibited. The administrative fee for a registration plate on request is CZK 5,000 per plate (i.e. CZK 10,000 per car). Again, the application form for a registration plate applies to you. You can check the availability of the number plates you plan to register on the internet.

What to do if the new owner does not transfer the car?

We are often contacted by clients who have sided with the seller and issued a power of attorney to transfer the car to the buyer, but who has not complied with the legal deadline for the vehicle to be re-titled. Of course, it is best not to get into such a situation at all and arrange the transfer yourself, or keep copies of the necessary documents just to be sure.

But what should you do when it is too late to prevent the car from being transferred and avoid complications?

  • Invite the buyer to do so, preferably in writing, by registered letter, setting a deadline for the transfer of the vehicle.
  • If the car is not transferred within the time limit, contact the registration office and provide all written documentation (vehicle purchase contract, copy of registered signature, proof of posting, etc.).
  • Based on the Act on the Conditions of Use of Vehicles on Roads, a procedure will be initiated in which the authority will invite the inactive party to transfer the vehicle.
  • Should the new owner fail to communicate with the authority and accept the summons even at this point, the procedure is terminated within the statutory time limit and the original owner must apply to the court to determine ownership and, if applicable, liability for the offences committed. However, this should already pass to the buyer after the formal challenge by the authority.

Why should the seller not delay in applying for a transfer unless the new owner does so himself?

In the event that a traffic offence is committed, the operator of the vehicle – the original owner, still on the vehicle register – is liable . This can be avoided by applying for an amendment before the offence is committed. This may release him from liability for the road traffic offence.

Act No. 361/2000 Coll.

Act on Road Traffic and Amendments to Certain Acts

“(6) The operator of a vehicle shall not be liable for an offence under subsection (1) if he proves that, at a time before the infringement of the driver’s duty or the rules of road traffic

  1. (a) the vehicle of which he is the operator has been stolen or its registration plate has been stolen; or
  2. (b) he has applied for registration of a change of operator of the vehicle in the register of road vehicles.”

Should the registration of the change of vehicle owner take place after the infringement, all liability and penalties arising therefrom shall fall on the original owner.

Tip: Consider inserting a penalty clause in the car purchase contract for breach of the vehicle’s title deed.

Avoid liability for offences you didn't commit

We only need 3 days to review the vehicle purchase contract and incorporate any penalties for non-compliance with the vehicle transfer. The service includes a consultation with a solicitor who will explain everything in detail.

What about registering a vehicle from abroad?

Most often, the vehicle registry deals with the import of cars from Germany or another EU member state. In this case, the following documents are required for registration:

  • the original technical certificate of the car from the country of origin,
  • the technical inspection report, emission measurements,
  • COC certificate (vehicle birth certificate), which must be requested from the seller,
  • a green card,
  • identity documents and the aforementioned form.

How does it work when transferring a car from an inheritance?

The new owner must register with the Registry no later than 10 working days from the date the inheritance decision becomes final. The procedure for transferring the car is then almost identical to that for purchase. You just need to provide the original or a certified copy of the inheritance resolution. The transfer of a car as part of an inheritance usually takes 1 to 2 days.

When a car is transferred within the family, the obligation to pay the compulsory liability insurance, which is not linked to whether the car moves on the road and participates in traffic, is often forgotten. It is sufficient that it has a national number plate. If not paid, penalties can run high, especially for used or older vehicles. It is not uncommon for the fine to be higher than the value of the car. If you don’t need the car, the notary public can take it out of service by temporarily depositing the license plate. This removes the obligation to pay the statutory insurance.

Time limit for transferring the car into personal ownership

You must complete the process of transferring the car to the new owner within 10 days of signing the purchase contract. It is the seller’s responsibility to meet this deadline. If you fail to comply, you may be fined up to CZK 50,000.

An available attorney advises: If a contract of sale has not been drawn up for the car, the time limit starts on the date of payment of the price.

Power of attorney for car transfer

A power of attorney from the buyer can relieve sellers of the stress of signing a car transfer agreement. The certificate, which is intended to authorise another person, cannot do without a signature with official verification. This can be arranged at Czech Point branches or at the post office. The fee for verification is CZK 30.

It must be clear from the document that it is a power of attorney for the transfer of a car. It should contain identification of the principal and the agent, a specification of what the agent is authorised to do under the power of attorney and a specification of the vehicle. You can restrict the power of attorney to represent a person to transfer a car to a specific time period and place, but it always terminates when the act is done, in this case, the moment the vehicle is transferred.

Anavailable lawyer advises: the application for registration of a change of owner or operator of a road vehicle can of course be handled by a third party. In this case, a third party will need a power of attorney to transfer the car from both parties.

Price for car transfer

The administrative fee for transferring the car to the new owner is CZK 800. If you are transferring an older vehicle that does not meet the EURO 3 emission standard, the ecotax will be a much more significant cost.

The amount of the fee depends on the standard that the car being transferred meets:

  • EURO 2 = CZK 3,000,
  • EURO 1 = CZK 5,000,
  • EURO 0 = CZK 10,000.

Tip: Cars manufactured after 2000 are in the vast majority of cases compliant with the EURO 3 standard and are exempt from the environmental tax.

Affordable Solicitor Advises: We are often asked who pays for the car transfer. The payer is the individual who has made the request to the administrative authority. Unless you directly contract for it in the contract, the seller is responsible for paying the car transfer fee.

What needs to be resolved along with the car reassignment?

  • It is the seller’s responsibility to take out compulsory insurance on the car so that the buyer can insure it.
  • The buyer will then have the car insured, taking out both compulsory liability and breakdown insurance.
  • If an older used car is being transferred, a registration check is required.

Based on all the circumstances described above, it can be seen that the best prevention is not only prudence, but above all a bulletproof car purchase contract. We will make sure that you buy or sell a car, or any other movable asset, legally without any ambiguities or kinks. You can sign in as little as 3 days.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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