Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Lien Sales


Can I conduct a lien sale on a vehicle located out-of-state?

No. If the vehicle in your possession has California license plates and you are out-of-state, you must follow the lien sale laws of that state. You can acquire the names and addresses of the legal and registered owners of the vehicle by using the Registration Information Request for Lien Sale (INF 1126).

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Who may conduct a lien sale?

Any person/lienholder in possession of a vehicle, who has a lien against the vehicle for services rendered, who does not have a monetary interest in the vehicle and has authorization from DMV.

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Why must I pay the back penalties on a vehicle I bought at a lien sale?

The Vehicle Code does not exempt lien sale vehicles from outstanding fees and penalties.

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I lost my title and can't find the seller who sold me the vehicle. Can I do a lien sale?

No. You cannot conduct a lien sale on a vehicle in which you have a monetary interest. You may submit an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) when the original title has been lost, stolen or mutilated.

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Can a towing company, repossession company, or salvage company do a lien sale if they are contracted with an organization or company to pick up the vehicle?

No, that would be a conflict of interest.

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Can I do a lien sale on a motorcycle that doesn't have an engine number?

No. Only complete motorcycles can be sold in a lien sale.

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Can I do a lien sale to cover repair costs on a vehicle if I don't have a Bureau of Automotive Repair number?

No. All auto repair shops in California must be registered with the Department of Consumer Affairs' Bureau of Automotive Repair, and every repair shop must post a sign to inform customers of their rights.

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If a vehicle has been abandoned on public property, may I do a lien sale?

No. The vehicle has to be located on your property for you to do a lien sale on that vehicle.

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If you have further questions regarding lien sales you can call the DMV Lien Sale Unit at (916)-657-7617 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, Pacific Time.