• Current through October 23, 2012

(a) After default, a secured party:

(1) May take possession of the collateral; and

(2) Without removal, may render equipment unusable and dispose of collateral on a debtor's premises under § 28:9-610.

(b) A secured party may proceed under subsection (a):

(1) Pursuant to judicial process; or

(2) Without judicial process, if it proceeds without breach of the peace.

(c) If so agreed, and in any event after default, a secured party may require the debtor to assemble the collateral and make it available to the secured party at a place to be designated by the secured party which is reasonably convenient to both parties.

(Oct. 26, 2000, D.C. Law 13-201, § 101, 47 DCR 7576.)




Former Section 9-503.

Secured Party's Right to Possession

This section follows former Section 9- 503 and earlier uniform legislation. It provides that the secured party is entitled to take possession of collateral after default.

Judicial Process; Breach of Peace

Subsection (b) permits a secured party to proceed under this section without judicial process if it does so "without breach of the peace." Although former Section 9-503 placed the same condition on a secured party's right to take possession of collateral, subsection (b) extends the condition to the right provided in subsection (a)(2) as well. Like former Section 9-503, this section does not define or explain the conduct that will constitute a breach of the peace, leaving that matter for continuing development by the courts. In considering whether a secured party has engaged in a breach of the peace, however, courts should hold the secured party responsible for the actions of others taken on the secured party's behalf, including independent contractors engaged by the secured party to take possession of collateral.

This section does not authorize a secured party who repossesses without judicial process to utilize the assistance of a law-enforcement officer. A number of cases have held that a repossessing secured party's use of a law-enforcement officer without benefit of judicial process constituted a failure to comply with former Section 9-503.

Damages for Breach of Peace

Concerning damages that may be recovered based on a secured party's breach of the peace in connection with taking possession of collateral, see Section 9-625, Comment 3.

Multiple Secured Parties

More than one secured party may be entitled to take possession of collateral under this section. Conflicting rights to possession among secured parties are resolved by the priority rules of this Article. Thus, a senior secured party is entitled to possession as against a junior claimant. Non-UCC law governs whether a junior secured party in possession of collateral is liable to the senior in conversion. Normally, a junior who refuses to relinquish possession of collateral upon the demand of a secured party having a superior possessory right to the collateral would be liable in conversion.

Secured Party's Right to Disable and Dispose of Equipment on Debtor's Premises

In the case of some collateral, such as heavy equipment, the physical removal from the debtor's plant and the storage of the collateral pending disposition may be impractical or unduly expensive. This section follows former Section 9-503 by providing that, in lieu of removal, the secured party may render equipment unusable or may dispose of collateral on the debtor's premises. Unlike former Section 9-503, however, this section explicitly conditions these rights on the debtor's default. Of course, this section does not validate unreasonable action by a secured party. Under Section 9-610, all aspects of a disposition must be commercially reasonable.

Debtor's Agreement to Assemble Collateral

This section follows former Section 9-503 also by validating a debtor's agreement to assemble collateral and make it available to a secured party at a place that the secured party designates. Similar to the treatment of agreements to permit collection prior to default under Section 9-607 and former 9-502, however, this section validates these agreements whether or not they are conditioned on the debtor's default. For example, a debtor might agree to make available to a secured party, from time to time, any instruments or negotiable documents that the debtor receives on account of collateral. A court should not infer from this section's validation that a debtor's agreement to assemble and make available collateral would not be enforceable under other applicable law.

Agreed Standards

Subject to the limitation imposed by Section 9-603(b), this section's provisions concerning agreements to assemble and make available collateral and a secured party's right to disable equipment and dispose of collateral on a debtor's premises are likely topics for agreement on standards as contemplated by Section 9-603.

Legislative History of Laws

For Law 13-201, see notes following § 28:9-101.