Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 19 of 38

Chapter 18: Lien Sales – Abandoned – Abated Vehicles

18.065 Liens (CCC §§3068 through 3074)

A person who has repaired, furnished supplies/materials for, towed, or stored a vehicle y is not paid for the services rendered has a lien against the vehicle.

  • The lien may be satisfied by obtaining a court judgment or selling the vehicle through a lien sale process outlined in the CCC.
  • To conduct a lien sale, the lienholder must have possession of the vehicle.
  • The legal owner must be notified before any repairs, service, or storage may be performed if the amount of any repairs or service exceeds $1,500 or the storage charges exceed $1,025 ($1,250 for vehicles valued over $4,000).
  • The lien arises (becomes effective) at the time the registered owner is presented with a written statement of charges for completed work or services, or 15 days after the work or services are completed, whichever occurs first.
    — However, if possession is the result of a public agency or private property impound, the lien arises when the vehicle is transported (towed). An additional lien for unpaid parking bail may be added for a vehicle impounded by law enforcement for parking violations (VC §22851.1).
  • A lienholder must apply for authorization to conduct a lien sale or file an action in court within 30 days after a lien has arisen, or the lien is no longer valid.
  • The lien may be extinguished if the lienholder does not respond within 10 days to a written demand by the legal owner or lessor with either:
    — A written copy of the work order or invoice showing the services or repairs performed.
    — The authorization from the registered owner or lienholder to perform the services or repairs.

Exception: If the vehicle is valued under $4,000 and the lien is based on towing, storage or labor, in certain cases, where possession is a result of a public agency, private party impound, or owner/operator request, the lienholder must begin lien sale proceedings within 15 days of the date the lien arises.

  • A Salvage Pool cannot conduct a lien sale in order to obtain title to a vehicle (VC §11515).
  • Follow regular procedures in processing lien sales. Lien sale paperwork that shows a salvage pool as the lienholder, and was started prior to November 10, 2023, will still be accepted. Salvage pools may continue to sell vehicles that went through a lien sale process prior to the salvage pool’s possession.