Civil Code Section 3072

3072.  (a) For vehicles with a value determined to be four thousand dollars ($4,000) or less, the lienholder shall apply to the department for the names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of record. The request shall include a description of the vehicle, including make, year, model, identification number, license number, and state of registration. If the vehicle identification number is not available, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall request an inspection of the vehicle by a peace officer, licensed vehicle verifier, or departmental employee before releasing the names and addresses of the registered and legal owners and interested parties.

(b) The lienholder shall, immediately upon receipt of the names and addresses, send, by certified mail with return receipt requested or by United States Postal Service Certificate of Mailing, a completed Notice of Pending Lien Sale form, a blank Declaration of Opposition form, and a return envelope preaddressed to the department, to the registered owner and legal owner at their addresses of record with the department, and to any other person known to have an interest in the vehicle. The lienholder shall additionally send a copy of the completed Notice of Pending Lien Sale form to the department by certified mail on the same day that the other notices are mailed pursuant to this subdivision.

(c) All notices to persons having an interest in the vehicle shall be signed under penalty of perjury and shall include all of the following information and statements:

(1) A description of the vehicle, including make, year model, identification number, license number, and state of registration. For motorcycles, the engine number shall also be included.

(2) The specific date, exact time, and place of sale, which shall be set not less than 31 days, but not more than 41 days, from the date of mailing.

(3) The names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of the vehicle and any other person known to have an interest in the vehicle.

(4) All of the following statements:

(A) The amount of the lien and the facts concerning the claim which gives rise to the lien.

(B) The person has a right to a hearing in court.

(C) If a court hearing is desired, a Declaration of Opposition form, signed under penalty of perjury, shall be signed and returned to the department within 10 days of the date the Notice of Pending Lien Sale form was mailed.

(D) If the Declaration of Opposition form is signed and returned, the lienholder shall be allowed to sell the vehicle only if he or she obtains a court judgment or if he or she obtains a subsequent release from the declarant or if the declarant cannot be served as described in subdivision (e).

(E) If a court action is filed, the declarant shall be notified of the lawsuit at the address shown on the Declaration of Opposition form and may appear to contest the claim.

(F) The person may be liable for court costs if a judgment is entered in favor of the lienholder.

(d) If the department receives the completed Declaration of Opposition form within the time specified, the department shall notify the lienholder within 16 days that a lien sale shall not be conducted unless the lienholder files an action in court within 30 days of the notice and judgment is subsequently entered in favor of the lienholder or the declarant subsequently releases his or her interest in the vehicle. If a money judgment is entered in favor of the lienholder and the judgment is not paid within five days after becoming final, then the judgment may be enforced by lien sale proceedings conducted pursuant to subdivision (f).

(e) Service on the declarant in person or by certified mail with return receipt requested, signed by the declarant or an authorized agent of the declarant at the address shown on the Declaration of Opposition form, shall be effective for the serving of process. If the lienholder has served the declarant by certified mail at the address shown on the Declaration of Opposition form and the mail has been returned unclaimed, or if the lienholder has attempted to effect service on the declarant in person with a marshal, sheriff, or licensed process server and the marshal, sheriff, or licensed process server has been unable to effect service on the declarant, the lienholder may proceed with the judicial proceeding or proceed with the lien sale without a judicial proceeding. The lienholder shall notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of the inability to effect service on the declarant and shall provide the Department of Motor Vehicles with a copy of the documents with which service on the declarant was attempted. Upon receipt of the notification of unsuccessful service, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall send authorization of the sale to the lienholder and shall send notification of the authorization to the declarant.

(f) At least 10 consecutive days prior to and including the day of the sale, the lienholder shall post a Notice of Pending Lien Sale form in a conspicuous place on the premises of the business office of the lienholder and if the pending lien sale is scheduled to occur at a place other than the premises of the business office of the lienholder, at the site of the forthcoming sale. The Notice of Pending Lien Sale form shall state the specific date and exact time of the sale and description of the vehicle, including the make, year model, identification number, license number, and state of registration. For motorcycles, the engine number shall also be included. The notice of sale shall remain posted until the sale is completed.

(g) Following the sale of a vehicle, the person who conducts the sale shall do both of the following:

(1) Remove and destroy the vehicle's license plates.

(2) Within five days of the sale, submit a completed "Notice of Release of Liability" form with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(h) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall retain all submitted forms described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) for two years.

(i) No lien sale shall be undertaken pursuant to this section unless the vehicle has been available for inspection at a location easily accessible to the public at least one hour before the sale and is at the place of sale at the time and date specified on the notice of sale. Sealed bids shall not be accepted. The lienholder shall conduct the sale in a commercially reasonable manner. All lien sale documents required by the department shall be completed and delivered to the buyer immediately following the sale.

(j) Any lien sale pursuant to this section shall be void if the lienholder does not comply with this chapter. Any lien for fees or storage charges for parking and storage of a motor vehicle shall be subject to Section 10652.5 of the Vehicle Code.