This article shows how to register a trailer without title in NY. You can have quite a hard time registering a trailer that has no title but it is possible to title it. Just follow the instructions in this well-researched guide.
To register a trailer without a title in New York, complete and submit the Statement of Ownership form or ask the seller to request a replacement title or transferrable registration. You can also register a no-title trailer as homemade but you may have to doctor the construction part/material receipts.
A trailer is any vehicle not propelled by its own power or drawn on the public highways by a motor vehicle.
A trailer titling and registration procedures are similar to any motor vehicle but with a few differences disclosed in this article.
How to register a trailer without title in NY
Before you continue reading, your trailer must meet the standards approved by the New York Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Determine the registration eligibility of your trailer
Some machines may look similar to trailers but do not require registration. Below are examples of trailer-type vehicles that you do not have to register:
This list only shows some examples of trailer-like vehicles you are not required to register. Typical trailer-like vehicles you are not required to register are those that do not operate under their own power. However, you must register the vehicle that tows the trailer.
If you are not sure about registering your trailer, contact the DMV via (518) 474-5282 or write to them. If you write to the NY DMV, include a picture and a full description of the use of your trailer.
Determine title eligibility
You need a title for your no-title trailer if:
- It weighs more than 999 lbs (pounds).
- It is at least 1973 model year or newer.
If your trailer is under 999 lbs or older than the model year 1973, apply for a “transferable registration” and not a title certificate.
Ask the seller to request a replacement title or transferrable registration
- Open or lost title. If the seller has a title bearing the name of the previous owner, it is an open title certificate, which is illegal. Advise the seller to put the title in their name or complete and submit the Application for Title Only (form MV-82TON) to the DMV for a replacement title.
- Lost transferable registration. If the trailer uses the NY State transferable registration but the seller lost it, advise them to complete and submit the Application for Registration or Title (form MV-82) to the DMV. If NY DMV cannot issue a duplicate transferable registration, the seller can apply for Certification of NY State Registration for Transfer of Non-Titled Vehicle (Form MV-353). The seller will also submit a $10 fee and proof of ID, which NY DMV uses to verify if the trailer is registered to the seller. If Form MV-353 does not verify the trailer ownership, the applicant can submit an old registration, Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO), or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) of the trailer.
Note that the NY DMV office will issue a non-transferable registration for the trailer if the proof of ownership is not a NY State transferable registration. A non-transferable registration prevents you from transferring the trailer ownership.
Use the Statement of Ownership form for the registration
If the trailer has no title, and you sent a certified letter to the previous owner demanding it, you need the following documents:
- The returned certified letter unopened in its envelope.
- Police statement of pencil tracing containing the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the trailer.
- Notarized affidavit explaining how you got the trailer and what you have done to try to get the title from the previous owner.
- Other proof of ownership documents – a bill of sale, or your canceled payment check.
- A completed Statement of Ownership (form MV-51B).
If the trailer is older than 1972, use the Certification [Affidavit] of Sale or Transfer (form MV-51). If the trailer was never registered by the previous owner, the ownership can be transferred to you.
Register the trailer as homemade
You can register a trailer without a title in NY as homemade. However, NY DMV is clear that homemade registration excludes the reconstruction/alteration of a trailer produced by a manufacturer.
You may have to do this a bit illegally by ripping and replacing parts because NY DMV will require you to present the parts and material receipts.
- Follow equipment requirements. See the standards approved in NY for trailers.
- Weigh your trailer. To know the weight of your trailer, contact your local city, town, village officials, or NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets Bureau of Weights and Measures to have the trailer weighed on a certified scale. You will be issued a weight slip. New York laws allow you to tow a trailer without registration for weighing. If your trailer weighs less than 1,000 pounds unloaded, NY DMV issues the VIN during registration.
- Obtain VIN. If your trailer already has a VIN, get rid of it so that you can obtain VIN for it as homemade. The application procedure depends on the unloaded/unladen weight of your no-title trailer. You will receive the original copy of the Application for Vehicle Identification Number (MV-272.1) as proof of VIN for your trailer.
- Documents to submit for titling and registration. The documents you will submit to title and register homemade trailer include an acceptable form of ID, original sales receipts for the parts used for the trailer, trailer weight slip, Vehicle Registration/Title Application (form MV-82), Claim for Sales and Use Tax Exemption (form DTF-803), Sales Tax Clearance (FS-6T), and Vehicle Identification Number for Homemade Trailer (Form MV-272). After registration, NY DMV will issue you a sticker that allows you 10 days for the trailer to pass a safety inspection.
- Complete the safety inspection. You must pass the yearly safety inspection. At the inspection site, you will present the receipts of the parts/materials used for the trailer. The examination is scheduled by the Division of Field Investigation, you will be notified of the location, date, and time of your appointment. They will also send you a temporary transport permit to legally tow your trailer to and from the examination location.
Note: Trailers weighing less than 1,000 lbs are not titled in New York.
Obtain a bill of sale
The only time you do not need a bill of sale is if you register the trailer as homemade. For other methods, including asking the seller to request replacement title or transferrable registration or using the Statement of Ownership form, you need a completed bill of sale.
The bill of sale must show the seller and buyer’s name, description of the trailer, and seller and buyer signatures. Note that a bill of sale only is not acceptable proof of ownership for a trailer in New York.
Complete the safety inspection
A safety inspection is mandatory if you register your no-title trailer as homemade or would be registering it in your name without a title.
Remember that trailers must get an annual safety inspection in New York at a DMV-licensed inspection station. And in NY, you must complete the inspection when the ownership of the trailer is transferred.
You will be issued an inspection sticker by the inspector, which allows you to legally tow the trailer for inspection.
Ensure to register your trailer at the DMV within 180 days from the date on your insurance ID card.
Note that you do not need insurance if you have a non-commercial trailer. Insurance only applies to trailers such as trailers registered with an agricultural registration or agricultural class trailers.
Meanwhile, you may be interested in the tactics to negotiate cash settlement with your insurer.
Contact NY DMV
You must schedule an appointment with the NY DMV office before you visit them in person. Go to the NY DMV office locations and reservations.
Pay the fees
In New York, trailer registrations last for 12 months with a fixed expiration date of December 31st. You will receive one plate and one yearly sticker with the registration document.
In NY, the yearly trailer registration fee is $5.39 for every 500 pounds or fraction of 500 pounds, maximum gross weight, with a minimum annual fee of $14.38, and subject to future changes.
The registration fee also depends on the location and weight of your trailer.
In essence, you will pay fees for the following (where applicable):
- Sales tax
- Title certificate fee
- Vehicle use tax (in some counties)
- Vehicle plate fee or registration transfer fee
- Registration fee (1 or 2-year, depending on your registration type)
New York DMV accepts cash, most credit, PINless debit, or prepaid cards (including MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover Card/Novus).
Money order or a personal check is payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. You can also split your payment between cash and check.
NY DMV employee will tell you what fee to pay to register your trailer if you have no idea.
After registration, you will receive a license plate and a registration document for your trailer.
The registration document is your proof of ownership of the trailer. If the registration has the word “Non-transferable”, you cannot transfer the trailer ownership. However, if the registration has the word “Transferable”, you can.
You will receive a new title in your mail after the trailer is registered.
Note: Ensure to renew your trailer registration yearly, otherwise, you have to register it again.
If you have questions, kindly use the comment section.