Civil Code Section 3068 Liens on Vehicles

Liens on Vehicles

3068.  (a) Every person has a lien dependent upon possession for the compensation to which the person is legally entitled for making repairs or performing labor upon, and furnishing supplies or materials for, and for the storage, repair, or safekeeping of, and for the rental of parking space for, any vehicle of a type subject to registration under the Vehicle Code, subject to the limitations set forth in this chapter. The lien shall be deemed to arise at the time a written statement of charges for completed work or services is presented to the registered owner or 15 days after the work or services are completed, whichever occurs first. Upon completion of the work or services, the lienholder shall not dismantle, disengage, remove, or strip from the vehicle the parts used to complete the work or services.

(b) (1) Any lien under this section that arises because work or services have been performed on a vehicle with the consent of the registered owner shall be extinguished and no lien sale shall be conducted unless either of the following occurs:

(A) The lienholder applies for an authorization to conduct a lien sale within 30 days after the lien has arisen.

(B) An action in court is filed within 30 days after the lien has arisen.

(2) A person whose lien for work or services on a vehicle has been extinguished shall turn over possession of the vehicle, at the place where the work or services were performed, to the legal owner or the lessor upon demand of the legal owner or lessor, and upon tender by the legal owner or lessor, by cashier’s check or in cash, of only the amount for storage, safekeeping, or parking space rental for the vehicle to which the person is entitled by subdivision (c).

(3) Any lien under this section that arises because work or services have been performed on a vehicle with the consent of the registered owner shall be extinguished, and no lien sale shall be conducted, if the lienholder, after written demand made by either personal service or certified mail with return receipt requested by the legal owner or the lessor to inspect the vehicle, fails to permit that inspection by the legal owner or lessor, or his or her agent, within a period of time not sooner than 24 hours nor later than 72 hours after the receipt of that written demand, during the normal business hours of the lienholder.

(4) Any lien under this section that arises because work or services have been performed on a vehicle with the consent of the registered owner shall be extinguished, and no lien sale shall be conducted, if the lienholder, after written demand made by either personal service or certified mail with return receipt requested by the legal owner or the lessor to receive a written copy of the work order or invoice reflecting the services or repairs performed on the vehicle and the authorization from the registered owner requesting the lienholder to perform the services or repairs, fails to provide that copy to the legal owner or lessor, or his or her agent, within 10 days after the receipt of that written demand.

(c) The lienholder shall not charge the legal owner or lessor any amount for release of the vehicle in excess of the amounts authorized by this subdivision.

(1) That portion of the lien in excess of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) for any work or services, or that amount, subject to the limitations contained in Section 10652.5 of the Vehicle Code, in excess of one thousand twenty-five dollars ($1,025) for any storage, safekeeping, or rental of parking space or, if an application for an authorization to conduct a lien sale has been filed pursuant to Section 3071 within 30 days after the commencement of the storage or safekeeping, in excess of one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($1,250) for any storage or safekeeping, rendered or performed at the request of any person other than the legal owner or lessor, is invalid, unless prior to commencing any work, services, storage, safekeeping, or rental of parking space, the person claiming the lien gives actual notice in writing either by personal service or by registered letter addressed to the legal owner named in the registration certificate, and the written consent of that legal owner is obtained before any work, services, storage, safekeeping, or rental of parking space are performed.

(2) Subject to the limitations contained in Section 10652.5 of the Vehicle Code, if any portion of a lien includes charges for the care, storage, or safekeeping of, or for the rental of parking space for, a vehicle for a period in excess of 60 days, the portion of the lien that accrued after the expiration of that period is invalid unless Sections 10650 and 10652 of the Vehicle Code have been complied with by the holder of the lien.

(3) The charge for the care, storage, or safekeeping of a vehicle which may be charged to the legal owner or lessor shall not exceed that for one day of storage if, 24 hours or less after the vehicle is placed in storage, a request is made for the release of the vehicle. If the request is made more than 24 hours after the vehicle is placed in storage, charges may be imposed on a full, calendar-day basis for each day, or part thereof, that the vehicle is in storage.

(d) In any action brought by or on behalf of the legal owner or lessor to recover a vehicle alleged to be wrongfully withheld by the person claiming a lien pursuant to this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, not to exceed one thousand seven hundred fifty dollars ($1,750).

(Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 121, Stats. 2007. Effective January 1, 2008.)