Code of the District of Columbia

§ 5–119.10. Sale at public auction; motor vehicle with lien of record; disposition of proceeds from sale.

(a) With respect to all property (including money), except perishable property, animals, firearms and property of persons with mental illness, not otherwise disposed of in accordance with § 5-119.09, that shall remain in the custody of the Property Clerk for not less than 90 days without being claimed and repossessed, the Property Clerk shall:

(1) Publish or cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the District, once a week for 2 consecutive weeks:

(A) Notice of the location where a full description of the property can be reviewed; and

(B) Notice that if such property is not claimed by the rightful owner within 45 days from the date of 1st publication, title to the property shall revert to the finder of lost property after deduction for the expenses of custody and publication, or to the District of Columbia in all other cases; and

(2) Post or cause to be posted in the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, where public notices are commonly or usually posted, a description of the property, and a copy of the notice published in the newspaper of general circulation in the District, and shall make a record of the date when such publication and the posting of the notices are made; and

(3) Post or cause to be posted on the Metropolitan Police Department website a description of the property, and a copy of the notice published in the newspaper of general circulation in the District, and shall make a record of the date when such publication and the posting of the notices are made.

(b) If neither the rightful owner nor the finder appear to claim the lost property, title to such property shall transfer to the District government and the property may be retained by the Mayor for official government use or may be sold at public auction at such place and time as the Property Clerk may direct and in such a manner as to expose to the inspection of bidders all property so offered for sale. The Property Clerk needs not offer any property for sale if, in the Property Clerk’s opinion, the probable cost of sale exceeds the value of the property.

(c) The purchaser at any sale conducted by the Property Clerk pursuant to this section shall receive title to the property purchased, free from all claims of the rightful owner or the finder of the property and all persons claiming through and under the rightful owner or the finder. The Property Clerk shall execute all documents necessary to complete the transfer of title.

(d) All proceeds from any sale under this section shall be deposited in the General Fund of the District government.

(e) Repealed.

(f)(1) The Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue proposed rules to implement the provisions of this section.

(2) The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved. Nothing in this section shall affect any requirements imposed upon the Mayor by subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(R.S., D.C., § 417; Sept. 1, 1916, 39 Stat. 718, ch. 433, § 12; Mar. 3, 1936, 49 Stat. 1158, ch. 121, § 2; Sept. 25, 1962, 76 Stat. 591, Pub. L. 87-691,§ 4; Mar. 5, 1981, D.C. Law 3-160, § 202, 27 DCR 5150; Sept. 29, 1988, D.C. Law 7-164, § 2, 35 DCR 5739; Sept. 9, 1989, D.C. Law 8-24, § 6(c)-(e), 36 DCR 4575; Oct. 28, 2003, D.C. Law 15-35, § 13(a), 50 DCR 6579; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 16, 53 DCR 6198; Sept. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-168, § 3002, 59 DCR 8025.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 4-161.

1973 Ed., § 4-160.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-119.06 and § 5-119.09.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-35 repealed subsec. (e).

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “persons with mental illness” for “insane persons”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-168 rewrote (a)(1)(A), which formerly read: “A description of the property; and”; added “a description of the property, and” in (a)(2); added (a)(3); and made a related change.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 13(a) of the Removal and Disposition of Abandoned, Dangerous and Other Unlawfully Parked Vehicles Reform Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 15-104, June 20, 2003, 50 DCR 5534).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 13(a) of Removal and Disposition of Abandoned and Other Unlawfully Parked Vehicles Reform Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-171, October 6, 2003, 50 DCR 9163).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 15-35: Section 15 of D.C. Law 15-35 provided: “This act shall apply to all vehicles impounded after its effective date. This act shall also apply to all vehicles impounded prior to its effective date provided that notice is sent to the owners and lien holders in accordance with the provisions of subsections 7(b) or (c), as is applicable.”

Effect of repeal provisions: Section 14 of D.C. Law 15-35 provided: “Any repeal of a law or regulation by this act shall not invalidate any enforcement action, adjudication, or any other action made or taken pursuant to such law or regulation.”

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under D.C. Law 8-24, the “D.C. Abandoned and Junk Vehicle Removal Amend. Act of 1989”, see Mayor’s Order 90-11, January 23, 1990.

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 7-164, the “D.C. Forfeited Property Amendment Act of 1988”, see Mayor’s Order 90-71, May 10, 1990.