Harbors and Navigation Code Section 504 Possessory Liens on Vessels

Possessory Liens on Vessels

504.  (a) For vessels with a value determined to be one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) or less, the department shall promptly furnish the lienholder with the names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of record.

(b) The lienholder shall, immediately upon receipt of the names and addresses, send by mail, with return receipt requested, 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, to any other person known to have a proprietary interest in the vessel, and to the department.

(c) Upon receipt of the notice, the department shall mark its records and thereafter notify any person having a proprietary interest in the vessel that there is a pending lien sale and that title will not be transferred until the lien is satisfied or released.

(d) All notices shall be signed under penalty of perjury and shall include all of the following information and statements:

(1) A description of the vessel, including make, identification number, and state of registration, to the extent available.

(2) The specific date, exact time, and place of sale, which shall be set not less than 35 days, but not more than 60 days, from the date of mailing.

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

(4) All of the following statements:

(A) The amount of the lien and the facts that give rise to the lien. The statement shall include, as a separate item, an estimate of any additional storage costs accruing pending the lien sale.

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

(C) If a court hearing is desired, a declaration of opposition signed under penalty of perjury is required to be signed and returned to the department within 15 days of the date the notice of pending lien sale was mailed.

(D) If the declaration of opposition is signed and returned, the lienholder will be allowed to sell the vessel only if he or she obtains a court judgment or if he or she obtains a subsequent release from the declarant.

(E) If a court action is filed, the declarant will be served by mail with legal process in the court proceedings at the address shown on the declaration of opposition 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.

(e) If the department receives the completed declaration of opposition within the time provided, 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 20 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 vessel.

(f) Service on the declarant by 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, shall be effective. Return of a declaration of opposition shall constitute consent by the declarant to service of legal process for the desired court hearing upon him or her in the foregoing manner. If the lienholder has attempted service upon the declarant by that method at the address shown on the declaration of opposition and the mail has been returned unclaimed, the lienholder may proceed with the sale.

(Amended Sec. 344, Ch. 538, Stats. 2006. Effective January 1, 2007.)