Transferring your vehicle in Ontario is not as simple as handing over a set of keys to the next owner. This article is meant as a guide on things to consider when transferring your vehicle to another person.
Transferring any asset without a contract or following the rules puts you at risk. Regardless of whether you are buying or selling a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle, signing or making a solemn declaration in front of a notary public helps protect you.
Imagine you purchase the vehicle of your dreams for only $6,000 and you drive away happy. However, as soon as you drive away you get pulled over and accused of having a stolen car. The contact you bought the car from is not returning your calls and you are stuck. This is the protection having a notarized contract for sale will do. A notary will require that both parties provide proof of identification and will keep a record of the transaction. This is done to protect both the seller and the purchaser from anyone "second guessing" the transaction in the future. There are different requirements for transferring your vehicle to family members and non-family members.
You can sell or transfer your vehicle to a member of your family with somewhat less formality than transferring the vehicle to non-family members. The vehicle can only be transferred in this way once per 12 months. The government defines family members as the following individuals: (1) spouse, (2) parent or step-parent, (3) grandparent or step-grandparent, (4) child or step-child, (5) grandchild or step-grandchild, (6) son or daughter in law, (7) mother or father in law, (8) sibling or step-sibling, (9) half sibling (one common parent), or (10) adopted sibling.
In order to transfer the ownership of your vehicle to one of the family members listed above, both parties need to visit a Service Ontario location. You can find the nearest Service Ontario location by clicking here. In addition, you must bring the following pieces of information:Non-Family Transfer:
Selling a Motor Vehicle
Selling or transferring a vehicle to a non-family member may carry more risk. There are certain steps you should follow on how to transfer a vehicle in the province of Ontario. It is important to ensure your Vehicle Identification Number matches the one provided on your permit (green ownership document).
If you are selling a vehicle, you must provide the purchase with the following:
- A Used Vehicle Information Package, which you can order here.
- A signed Bill of Sale. The Bill of Sale must include your name, the buyer's name and address, the date, and the purchase price of the vehicle. You may want to review this Bill of Sale. Notary-toronto.ca can help prepare a Bill of Sale on your behalf, just let us know by calling 647-470-5266 or by sending an email to !
- An Application for Transfer (found on the back of your ownership permit, underneath the vehicle section).
- A Certificate stating the vehicle being transferred meets safety standards (if required). You will need to get this certificate from a licensed mechanic with a green and white sign that says "Ontario Motor Vehicle Inspection Station".Remember, it is important to remove the licence plates when you have sold your motor vehicle. The licence plates stay with the individual and not with the vehicle. You do not want to get stuck paying for someone's parking and speeding tickets down the road! Also, ensure you keep the "plate portion" of your permit.
You may also want to request a refund of any full months left on your plate stickers. You can request a refund at any Service Ontario Centre and be sure to consult the following guide provided by the government of Ontario.
Purchasing a Motor Vehicle
In order to purchase a motor vehicle in Ontario, you should strongly consider following these steps to ensure your car is properly registered in your name. Remember to test drive the vehicle before paying, you don't want to be surprised later!
Before buying a used vehicle you should:
- Check the vehicle history by using a reputable service such as Carfax or the Ontario Government website. You may also want to check out the vehicle maintenance records. The car may look good, but you should be aware of any recurring issues with the car which could influence your decision to buy.
- Check the vehicle's emissions testing history on the Drive Clean website. A Drive Clean emissions test is required every two years for all vehicles seven years and older. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to run this free search.
- Although not required, you can also ask the vehicle seller to perform a Drive Clean emissions test. This will give you a good idea if the vehicle has any current emissions problems prior to the sale.
- Ensure the seller is the legally registered owner. This information can be found in the Used Vehicle Information Package provided by the Seller. Ask to see their driver's licence and compare the name with the registered owner information contained in the report.
- Ensure the VIN on the vehicle matches the one on the owners permit.
- Check the lien/debt information contained in the Used Vehicle Information Report. You can also order your own report on liens here.
- Visually inspect the motor vehicle, know what you are purchasing.
Once the motor vehicle has been purchased, you must register the purchase within 6 days. The following instructions are what you need to bring to any Service Ontario kiosk which can process the registration.
- Your proof of insurance.
- Your Ontario Drivers Licence.
- A Used Vehicle Information Package, which you can order here.
- The Bill of Sale. Remember, notary-toronto.ca can help draft a Bill of Sale prior to the sale,just let us know by calling 647-470-5266 or by sending an email to !
- Safety Standards Certificate (not needed for spouse to spouse transfers as long as you sign a Spousal Declaration (needs to be notarized) which can be found here).
- The owners permit with the completed Application for Transfer portion on the back.
- The odometer reading information.At various points throughout a vehicle transfer process it is advisable to have a notary witness signatures and confirm identity. While we do not complete any other stage, notary-toronto.ca can help provide certainty and peace of mind. Please contact us at 647-470-5266 or email today!