HTVR 18 Change Legal Owner Only
You will need:
- California Certificate of Title
- Transfer Fee
You may also need:
Change of legal owner only
Change of legal owner for a vehicle may occur when a lien has been paid off or when the legal owner changed (for example when a car is refinanced). The registered owner remains the same.
How to remove the legal owner from the title.
To have the legal owner name removed from the title, you must submit the Certificate of Title to DMV. It must be signed on the designated line by the legal owner. In lieu of the legal owner's signature on the title, a notarized Lien Satisfied/Title Holder Release (REG 166), completed by the lien holder is acceptable.
Remember: The department cannot remove the lienholder until you submit the title to the department to record the change.
The legal owner I am paying in full participates in DMV'S Electronic Lien and Title Program
When you have made the final payment, the legal owner will submit an electronic release to DMV. The department will then issue a new title to the registered owner as sole owner and send it to you by mail. DMV will also issue a new registration and mail it to you separately. A trip to a DMV office is no longer necessary.
I Have the title and want to refinance my car.
If you are presently holding the Certificate of Title for the vehicle and want to refinance it, you must:
- Sign on Line 2 of the Certificate of Title to release your interest as the legal owner. DO NOT sign on Line 1 if you are to remain the registered owner(s).
- Give the title to the finance company. The new legal owner's name and address must appear on the designated lines on the reverse side of the title, initialed by the person entering the information. The legal owner must submit the title and transfer fee to DMV to record the change.
Refinancing the car with another loan company
If you are making payments for your vehicle and want to refinance it, the department requires the Certificate of Title from the current legal owner. The title must be released on Line 2 by the legal owner shown on the title. The reverse side must be completed to show the new legal owner name and address, initialed by the person entering the information.
The new lienholder will submit the Certificate of Title and transfer fee to DMV to record the change. A new Certificate of Title will be issued and mailed to the new lienholder.
The title is electronic and I want to refinance my car with another loan company
If the current legal owner has an electronic title, this owner will submit an electronic release to DMV once you pay off the loan. DMV will send the new legal owner a new title showing their name as legal owner. DMV will also issue a new registration card to the registered owner. A trip to a DMV office is no longer necessary.
What to do about a lost Certificate of Title
If you have lost your Certificate of Title after the legal owner released interest in the vehicle, you must obtain a new release on an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) or a Lien Satisfied/Title Holder Release (REG 166). The legal owner signature on either form must be notarized. The person who lost the title must complete the "Missing Title Statement of Facts" on the Application for Duplicate Title.
What to do when the legal owner cannot be found
Your financial institution may have moved, gone out of business, merged with another institution, or changed its name. If you have difficulty locating the legal owner to obtain a release, try the alphabetized Financial Institution Listing..
HTVR 18 (REV. 01/2012) WWW