Can you put a lien on a car without the title? Yes, you can put a lien on a car without holding the title. However, the circumstances and procedures depend on your state and the reason for the lien. If someone owes you money and you want to put a claim on their car, it can be a bit complicated. Whether you want to claim a lien on someone else’s car or deal with a lien on your own vehicle, there are ways to handle it.
Car liens might seem scary if you don’t know about them. However, they are a regular part of buying and owning a car for most people. Liens on a car can be tricky to grasp, especially with various state laws adding to the confusion.
When it comes to renting or borrowing money to buy a car and the rules that come with it, things can become confusing. Keep reading as we make it easy to understand car liens. We’ll explain what liens are and whether someone can put a lien on a car without the title or not.
Can You Put a Lien on a Car Without the Title?
Yes. While you can put a lien on a car without holding the title, it depends on the circumstances and procedures set up in the specific state, as well as the reason for the lien.
So, what are the types of liens someone can put on a car without the title? We will look at the most common types in the next section.
Different Kinds of Car Liens
Your car might already have a lien on it. Sometimes, you might need to put a lien on a car that’s already been titled, whether it’s yours or not. Below are the common types of car liens and when you can put a lien on a car without the title.
Lien on Financing
Financing liens are the most common liens you can put on a car. When you finance a car, the lender puts a lien on your car’s title. If you financed your car with the dealership, they have the lien. If it’s from a bank or credit union, they hold it. This lien stays on your title until you complete paying off your loan.
A financing lien makes sure you keep paying back the money you borrowed for your car. It’s a bit like a safety net for the lender. Without it, they don’t have any legal way to protect themselves if you stop paying. But with a lien, they can take your car back if you default on the payment plan.
Mechanic’s Lien Explained
It is not just your lender who can put a lien on a car without the title. If you have had work done on your car and have not paid for it, the mechanic can put a mechanic’s lien on your car’s title without even holding the title. This gives them a claim on your car until you settle the debt. These services could include repairs, towing, or selling your parts.
Some people categorize storage and towing liens the same as the mechanic’s lien. It is similar to a mechanic’s lien. If a vehicle is towed and the owner does not pay the towing or storage fees, the company might be able to put a lien on the car without the title.
Usually, you don’t need a formal contract. If a mechanic’s name and another lien are on your car’s title, their claim usually comes first. This means they can take or sell your car after a certain time, even if they do not have your title with them.
It all depends on the state, but when you file a mechanic’s lien, you may need to provide the following information:
- Service duration and for how long the car owner has not paid.
- How have you tried to solve the problem before going ahead and filing a lien?
- Can the mechanic sell the car to cover what you owe?
- How does the person who owns the car’s title need to be notified about this mechanic’s lien?
Child Support Liens
If a parent taking care of their child does not get child support, they can put a lien on a car without the title. Usually, the parent with the lien can sell the car or wait until it’s sold or the loan on it is changed, and then get the money owed.
If that doesn’t happen, the lien stays there until the parent who has it takes it off or until all the child support is paid. This lien is still valid even if the child doesn’t need support anymore.
In most states, you can put a child support lien on a car. But in some states, you need a court order. You can check what your state requires on the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s website.
How to Put a Lien on a Car Title
Adding a lienholder to a car title is usually quite simple, but it can vary depending on which state you live in. Typically, the new lienholder is responsible for dealing with the state. However, if there was no previous lien on the title, the owner might need to make some changes before adding the new lienholder.
Each state has its own requirements and steps, so there’s no one-size-fits-all process for putting a lien on a car without the title. In most cases, you need to get in touch with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and complete the necessary forms to modify the title or start a new title application.
You’ll generally need to provide the following information:
- Car information, including its make, brand, and specific model
- Information about the car’s registration
- The first title information
- The owner’s contact details
- Information of the new owner (if any)
After completing the paperwork and paying the title fee, submit it to your DMV. Once they’re processed, you’ll get a new paper title that shows the new lien. In some states, you can electronically put a lien on a car without the title. You can also check your lien status online in many states.
Is a Car Loan Considered a Lien?
Yes, a car loan is typically considered a lien on the vehicle. However, a loan is different from a lien. When you take out a car loan, you are borrowing money to purchase the vehicle. In return for lending you that money, the lender wants some assurance that they’ll get their money back. Thus, they place a lien on the vehicle.
A lien gives the lender the right to possess the vehicle if you fail to make your loan payments as agreed. It is a legal claim or a right against assets used as collateral to secure a loan. In the case of a car loan, the car itself is the collateral.
The title of the car will often show the lender as the lienholder. Only after the loan is paid off in full will the lien be released, and the owner will then have a free and clear title to the vehicle. If you attempt to sell the vehicle before paying off the loan, the lienholder will need to be paid off before the title can be transferred to a new owner.
Read also: Proof of Ownership of Car Without Title