If Two Names are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell it?

If Two Names are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell it

Having two names on a car title is common between couples and in businesses, especially in partnership businesses. It usually seems easy to do until insurance companies get involved. They don’t make the process easy for the parties involved.

Since joint ownership requires two names, therefore, if two names are on a car title can one person sell it?

If two names are on a car title, one person can sell the car provided the order in which the names were written tallies with the process. If “OR” was used on both names during the car registration, both owners can sell the car independently without the co-owner being present.

The terms of joint ownership depend on the state and registration office. Irrespective of the state both parties have to be present at the time of registration for identification and signing of the necessary paperwork.

Can There be Two Names on a Car Title?

Yes, there can be two names on a car title. For certain reasons; for personal or business purposes, there may be a need to have more than one person registered as a legal car owner.

A car title is legal proof that the car belongs to one or more people. In the case of having two names, both parties are considered legal owners by the law, hence they have equal rights to the vehicle.

The document includes personal details of both parties and information about the car to be registered such as the model and year of the vehicle.

The order in which the names are written is important as it can change a lot of things. The use of “OR’ and “AND” is very important.

If ‘OR” is used, you are invariably saying either of the parties can sell the vehicle without the input of the other person.

The use of “AND” on the other hand means the signature of both parties will be required at all times for any decision regarding the vehicle. “OR” means both parties own it 100% while “AND” means both parties own it 50-50.

Both owners must be present at the time of registration because their signatures will be needed also with proof of identity.

If Two Names are on a Car Title Can One Person Sell it?

Yes, one person can sell a car if two names are on the car title. This right here is why the order in which the names are written while registering is important. The use of ‘OR’. ‘AND’ changes a lot of things.

Using ‘OR’ means both owners can sell the vehicle independent of the other person i.e. you don’t need your co-owner to be there or sign before selling. Using ‘AND’ means you cannot sell the vehicle without your co-owner, both parties have to be present. For better understanding let’s have name illustrations;

  • Kenneth Williams and Rich Peter mean both of them have to be present when selling the vehicle because they both have the append their signature.
  • ‘Kenneth Williams or Rich Peter’ means Kenneth can sell the car without Peter being present and the same goes for Peter.

Whichever the case is, the other party needs to be aware of the sale whether they will be present during the sale or not, doing otherwise may be seen as a crime.

In a case where the car was gotten on loan and you had a cosigner, it is good to inform the cosigner of your intention of sale.

The consigner doesn’t have any right to the car since their name isn’t on the title therefore cannot stop you from selling the car.

Do Both Parties Have to be Present to Sell a Car?

No, both parties do not have to be present to sell a car. For whatever reason, a party or both parties owning a car can decide to sell the car.

Depending on the state, the registration process varies as some state uses the “and” rule while others use the “and/or” rule even the “or” rule is used.

Whatever the case may be, what you use during registration supported by the state will determine if both parties should be present during a car sale.

An “OR” between co-owner names during registration will mean that the two parties do not have to be present.

There are other situations where both parties do not have to be present to sell a car. When the co-owner of a vehicle dies and the listing says ‘AND’, the other party has the responsibility of removing the dead party’s name before a sale can happen.

If you also plan to sell a car in the nearest future, you can remove your co-owner. This will be done by filling out the required paperwork by law, the co-owner will sign over his/her ownership before the sale takes place. The process of transfer of ownership takes time.

What Happens When One Person Sells the Car?

If a car is listed with ‘or’ then both parties own It 100%, 100%, and each person has the right to sell the car. Nothing happens when one person sells the car except the transfer of ownership to the person buying.

For either of the party to sell the car then the other person is aware and in agreement, which means they both agree to sell the car but only one party does the transfer and signing.

What to do When One Person Sold a Jointly Owned Car to You?

Purchasing a jointly owned car can be quite tricky as you have to make sure both co-owners are onboard with the sale.

Before filing the paperwork that transfers the car to you, you may want to request to see a copy of the original car title.

This is so you can see the clause on the document for yourself, a lot can go wrong if you come to realize later that the other party wasn’t aware of the sale.

If the other party is dead, make sure his/her name has been removed as the joint owner of the car before you sign any document. This should be done by the person selling it.

Ensure that you sign the necessary legal documents as proof you’re the new car owner.


In some cases, the listing of names could take the form, and/or, this also means only one of the parties has to be present to sell and sign over the vehicle.

Order of listing is important so that both parties can know what their rights are as regards the car. Just as the order of listing is important, so are the terms of the agreement. Terms of the agreement once signed will be binding on both parties until one party probably decides to opt-out of the agreement.