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Old 10-20-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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Registration of non-operational trailer in CA

I'm curious is anyone has found a way out of paying annual CA registration for a trailer that is never going to see road usage because it is not road-worthy?

We have a Sprinter 5th wheel permanently parked on our undeveloped 40 acre property in the desert in CA. We have no intention of ever using it on the road - it's not even roadworthy at this point - it is just a place for us to relax in when we go out to the desert.

CA DMV says that we have to pay annual registration fees (~ $100) even if the trailer is never used. The only exception is if we "sell, give away, donate, or otherwise dispose of a vehicle".

The thing is that almost every property around us has several dilapidated trailers sitting around, and I am nearly certain that none of those folks pay registration on those heaps. Yet according to DMV, even a rusting hulk sitting in the back of your property has to be paid up every year, unlike a hulk of a car that can be declared non-operational.

The closest thing I see is perhaps declaring it as a "non-repairable vehicle", although I am not sure that this applies to trailers.

Any ideas?
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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It sounds like you are registered as a "park trailer" or "trailer coach" check out this link Registering Commercial Vehicles and PTI Trailers FFVR 27. You might be able to get it registered as a Camp trailer and get in the PTI category. The renewal fees are $10 every five years.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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About time for a tax revolution in California and elsewhere isn't it? Registering a trailer of any sort on private property that isn't going to see the highway is just ludicrous. Gotta wonder what if any exemptions are available in Cali. for farm equipment and the like.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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I de-insured one of my pickups and I still have to pay AZ registration. I used to do it to my 5er during the non-use summer months to save on insurance and I'm going to do it to my MH next summer. I don't know how to get out of it here either.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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Just file the paperwork that says it's Non-Operational. California Department of Motor Vehicles
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:06 PM   #6
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trailer registration in california

this is a first. where california screwed up. a few years back california came up with a permanent registration on trailers. yes permanent. they were trying to get the 18 wheelers to pay more money by making the tractors pay the weight fees. on 50,000 lbs mine were $1000 year if i went to 80,000 would be $1500 year. dmv thinking was big companies have lots of rigs and we'll generate more money making all of the trucks pay for the 80,000 lbs fees. backfire-- the companies instead of putting any tractor under any trailer and going. designated only certain tracrtors to pull certain weights. but everyone with trailers made out, no fees. so check i think they are still using the lifetime tags.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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I've had several trailer permanent plates in AZ, but I don't think you can for anything self contained like a 5er, TT or MH.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions folks. I considered the Planned Non-Operation (PNO) route, but they exempt trailers from that:

Quote:
VehiclesWhich Cannot be Placed on PNO Status

  • Park Trailers
  • Trailer Coaches
  • Vessels
  • Special Equipment
  • Mopeds/Motorized Bicycles
The PTI or commercial trailer idea also seems to not work with our 5th wheel, which seems to fall squarely into the "trailer coach" or "park trailer " category, both of which are excluded from PTI:


Quote:
NOTE: A camp trailer or fifth-wheel trailer (depending upon maximum length, width, or size) can be registered as a trailer coach, or camp trailer. Camp trailers are subject to PTI, but trailer coaches and park trailers are subject to annual registration and excluded from PTI.
The "camp trailer" idea would not work since the Sprinter is longer than the max 16' length allowed:


Quote:
242. A "camp trailer" is a vehicle designed to be used on a highway, capable of human habitation for camping or recreational purposes, that does not exceed 16 feet in overall length
So I am still looking for ideas, or may just call the DMV and see if the non-repairable vehicle status might apply.


Leon
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
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What if you take the axles off, plant it and call it a home? I'm sure they'd hit you with property tax like a house, but which would cost more? You'd probably have to get a title generated like for a house.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunner View Post
What if you take the axles off, plant it and call it a home? I'm sure they'd hit you with property tax like a house, but which would cost more? You'd probably have to get a title generated like for a house.
And they would probably force me to make Title 24 compliant to boot . I think this is actually why they are taxing even "non-operational" trailers - they can be used as homes. But again, it seems like I will never get out of paying registration fees on it no matter how decrepit it may become, and that just seems crazy.

The downside I see in doing the "non-repairable vehicle" thing is that it can never again be sold as a roadworthy vehicle, even if it were fixed up. While I don't ever plan on refurbishing it for road use again, I am not sure I am ready to fully write that possibility off, as its resale value would then plunge to near nothing.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:34 AM   #11
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Tell 'em it was uninsured, burned, and hauled to the dump.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:49 AM   #12
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I ended up talking to the DMV, to a surprisingly knowledgeable and helpful guy. He said that since this trailer is a "trailer coach", it is designed to be inhabited, hence they charge registration fees regardless of whether or not it's used on the road.

He agreed that if I declared it as non-repairable, then they would not charge registration - but I would have to document that it is essentially a hulk, would have to surrender the title, and could never register it again.

Having thought it over, I decided to keep paying the $100/yr, and preserve my options to sell it later if I so choose, and to avoid having to deal with DMV to document that it's a heap, which at this point it really isn't. It's a small price to pay to avoid additional hassles .

Thanks for all the help folks.

Leon
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