Code Section Group

Civil Code - CIV

DIVISION 3. OBLIGATIONS [1427 - 3272.9]

  ( Heading of Division 3 amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 160, Sec. 14. )

PART 4. OBLIGATIONS ARISING FROM PARTICULAR TRANSACTIONS [1738 - 3273]

  ( Part 4 enacted 1872. )

TITLE 14. LIEN [2872 - 3081]

  ( Title 14 enacted 1872. )

CHAPTER 6.5. Liens on Vehicles [3067 - 3074]
  ( Chapter 6.5 added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

3067.
  

Words used in this chapter which are defined in Division 1 of the Vehicle Code shall have the same meaning as in the Vehicle Code.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3.)

3067.1.
  

All forms required pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be prescribed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The language used in the notices and declarations shall be simple and nontechnical.

(Added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1111, Sec. 1.)

3067.2.
  

This chapter shall not apply to any manufactured home, as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code, to any mobilehome, as defined in Section 18008 of the Health and Safety Code, or to any commercial coach, as defined in Section 18001.8 of the Health and Safety Code, whether or not the manufactured home, mobilehome, or commercial coach is subject to registration under the Health and Safety Code.

(Added by Stats. 1983, Ch. 1124, Sec. 7.)

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

3068.1.
  

(a) (1) Every person has a lien dependent upon possession for the compensation to which the person is legally entitled for towing, storage, or labor associated with recovery or load salvage of any vehicle subject to registration that has been authorized to be removed by a public agency, a private property owner pursuant to Section 22658 of the Vehicle Code, or a lessee, operator, or registered owner of the vehicle. The lien is deemed to arise on the date of possession of the vehicle. Possession is deemed to arise when the vehicle is removed and is in transit, or when vehicle recovery operations or load salvage operations have begun. A person seeking to enforce a lien for the storage and safekeeping of a vehicle shall impose no charge exceeding that for one day of storage if, 24 hours or less after the vehicle is placed in storage, the vehicle is released. If the release 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. If a request to release the vehicle is made and the appropriate fees are tendered and documentation establishing that the person requesting release is entitled to possession of the vehicle, or is the owner’s insurance representative, is presented within the initial 24 hours of storage, and the storage facility fails to comply with the request to release the vehicle or is not open for business during normal business hours, then only one day’s charge may be required to be paid until after the first business day. A “business day” is any day in which the lienholder is open for business to the public for at least eight hours. 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.

(2) “Documentation” that would entitle a person to possession of the vehicle includes, but is not limited to, a certificate of ownership, vehicle registration, information in the possession of the lienholder including ownership information obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles or a facially valid registration found within the vehicle, or a notarized letter or statement from the legal or registered owner providing authorization to release to a particular person with a government-issued photographic identification card. Documentation that establishes that a person is the owner’s insurance representative includes, but is not limited to, a faxed letter or other letter from the owner’s insurance company. A lienholder is not responsible for determining the authenticity of documentation specifically described in this subdivision that establishes either a person’s entitlement to possession or that a person is the owner’s insurance representative.

(b) If the vehicle has been determined to have a value not exceeding four thousand dollars ($4,000), the lien shall be satisfied pursuant to Section 3072. Lien sale proceedings pursuant to Section 3072 shall commence within 15 days of the date the lien arises. No storage shall accrue beyond the 15-day period unless lien sale proceedings pursuant to Section 3072 have commenced. The storage lien may be for a period not exceeding 60 days if a completed notice of a pending lien sale form has been filed pursuant to Section 3072 within 15 days after the lien arises. Notwithstanding this 60-day limitation, the storage lien may be for a period not exceeding 120 days if any one of the following occurs:

(1) A Declaration of Opposition form is filed with the department pursuant to Section 3072.

(2) The vehicle has an out-of-state registration.

(3) The vehicle identification number was altered or removed.

(4) A person who has an interest in the vehicle becomes known to the lienholder after the lienholder has complied with subdivision (b) of Section 3072.

(c) If the vehicle has been determined to have a value exceeding four thousand dollars ($4,000) pursuant to Section 22670 of the Vehicle Code, the lien shall be satisfied pursuant to Section 3071. The storage lien may be for a period not exceeding 120 days if an application for an authorization to conduct a lien sale has been filed pursuant to Section 3071.

(d) (1) Any lien under this section shall be extinguished, and a lien sale shall not be conducted, if any one of the following occurs:

(A) The lienholder, after written demand to inspect the vehicle made by either personal service or certified mail with return receipt requested by the legal owner or the lessor, fails to permit the inspection by the legal owner or lessor, or his or her agent, within a period of time of at least 24 hours, but not to exceed 72 hours, after the receipt of that written demand, during the normal business hours of the lienholder. The legal owner or lessor shall comply with inspection and vehicle release policies of the impounding public agency.

(B) The amount claimed for storage exceeds the posted rates.

(2) “Agent” includes, but is not limited to, any person designated to inspect the vehicle by the request of the legal owner or lessor, in writing or by telephone, to the lienholder. A lienholder is not responsible for determining the authenticity of documentation establishing a person’s agency for the purposes of inspection of a vehicle.

(e) A lienholder shall not be liable for any claim or dispute directly arising out of the reliance on documentation specifically described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) for purposes of releasing a vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 566, Sec. 1. (AB 519) Effective January 1, 2011.)

3068.2.
  

(a) A tow truck operator who has a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 has a deficiency claim against the registered owner of the vehicle if the vehicle is not leased or leased with a driver for an amount equal to the towing and storage charges, not to exceed 120 days of storage, and the lien sale processing fee pursuant to Section 3074, less the amount received from the sale of the vehicle.

(b) A tow truck operator who has a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 has a deficiency claim against the lessee of the vehicle if the vehicle is leased without a driver for an amount equal to the towing and storage charge, not to exceed 120 days of storage, and the lien sale processing fee described in Section 3074, less the amount received from the sale of the vehicle.

(c) Storage costs incurred after the sale shall not be included in calculating the amount received from the sale of the vehicle.

(d) A registered owner who has sold or transferred his or her vehicle prior to the vehicle’s removal and who was not responsible for creating the circumstances leading to the removal of the vehicle is not liable for any deficiency under this section if that registered owner executes a notice pursuant to Section 5900 of the Vehicle Code and submits the notice to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The person identified as the transferee in the notice submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles shall be liable for the amount of any deficiency only if that person received notice of the transfer and is responsible for the event leading to abandonment of the vehicle or requested the removal.

(e) Except as provided in Section 22524.5 of the Vehicle Code, if the transferee is an insurer and the transferor is its insured or his or her agent or representative, the insurer shall not be liable for any deficiency, unless the insurer agrees at the time of the transfer, to assume liability for the deficiency.

(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1220, Sec. 2.5. Effective September 30, 1994.)

3069.
  

Any lien provided for in this chapter for labor or materials, or for storage or safekeeping of a vehicle when abandoned on private property may be assigned by written instrument accompanied by delivery of possession of the vehicle, subject to the lien, and the assignee may exercise the rights of a lienholder as provided in this chapter. Any lienholder assigning a lien as authorized herein shall at the time of assigning the lien give written notice either by personal delivery or by registered or certified mail, to the registered and legal owner of the assignment, including the name and address of the person to whom the lien is assigned.

(Amended by Stats. 1969, Ch. 125.)

3070.
  

(a) Whenever the possessory lien upon any vehicle is lost through trick, fraud, or device, the repossession of the vehicle by the lienholder revives the possessory lien but any lien so revived is subordinate to any right, title, or interest of any person under any sale, transfer, encumbrance, lien, or other interest acquired or secured in good faith and for value between the time of the loss of possession and the time of repossession.

(b) It is a misdemeanor for any person to obtain possession of any vehicle or any part thereof subject to a lien pursuant to this chapter by trick, fraud, or device.

(c) It is a misdemeanor for any person claiming a lien on a vehicle to knowingly violate this chapter.

(d) (1) Any person who improperly causes a vehicle to be towed or removed in order to create or acquire a lienhold interest enforceable under this chapter, or who violates subdivision (c), shall forfeit all claims for towing, removal, or storage, and shall be liable to the owner or lessee of the vehicle for the cost of removal, transportation, and storage, damages resulting from the towing, removal, transportation, or storage of the vehicle, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “improperly causes a vehicle to be towed or removed” includes, but is not limited to, engaging in any of the following acts, the consequence of which is the towing or removal of a vehicle:

(A) Failure to comply with Section 10650, 10652.5, or 10655 of the Vehicle Code.

(B) Misrepresentation of information described in subdivision (b) of Section 10650 of the Vehicle Code.

(C) Failure to comply with Section 22658 of the Vehicle Code.

(D) Failure, when obtaining authorization for the removal of a vehicle from a vehicle owner or operator where a law enforcement officer is not present at the scene of an accident, to present a form for signature that plainly identifies all applicable towing and storage fees and charges by type and amount, and identifies the name and address of the storage facility unless a different storage facility is specified by the vehicle owner or operator, and to furnish a copy of the signed form to the owner or operator.

(E) Failure by the owner or operator of a facility used for the storage of towed vehicles to display, in plain view at all cashiers’ stations, a sign not less than 17 by 22 inches in size with lettering not less than one inch in height, disclosing all storage fees and charges in force, including the maximum daily storage rate.

(F) Undertaking repairs or service on a vehicle which is being stored at a facility used for the storage of towed vehicles without first providing a written estimate to, and obtaining the express written consent of, the owner of the vehicle.

(G) The promise to pay or the payment of money or other valuable consideration by any owner or operator of a towing service to the owner or operator of the premises from which the vehicle is towed or removed, for the privilege of towing or removing the vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 799, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1995.)

3071.
  

(a) A lienholder shall apply to the department for the issuance of an authorization to conduct a lien sale pursuant to this section for any vehicle with a value determined to be over four thousand dollars ($4,000). A filing fee shall be charged by the department and may be recovered by the lienholder if a lien sale is conducted or if the vehicle is redeemed. The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury and shall include all of the following information:

(1) A description of the vehicle, including make, year model, identification number, license number, and state of registration. For motorcycles, the engine number also shall be included. If the vehicle identification number is not available, the department shall request an inspection of the vehicle by a peace officer, licensed vehicle verifier, or departmental employee before accepting the application.

(2) The names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of the vehicle, if ascertainable from the registration certificates within the vehicle, and the name and address of any person whom the lienholder knows, or reasonably should know, claims an interest in the vehicle.

(3) A statement of the amount of the lien and the facts that give rise to the lien.

(b) Upon receipt of an application made pursuant to subdivision (a), the department shall do all of the following:

(1) Notify the vehicle registry agency of a foreign state of the pending lien sale, if the vehicle bears indicia of registration in that state.

(2) By certified mail, send a notice, a copy of the application, and a return envelope preaddressed to the department to the registered and legal owners at their addresses of record with the department, and to any other person whose name and address is listed in the application.

(c) The notice required pursuant to subdivision (b) shall include all of the following statements and information:

(1) An application has been made with the department for authorization to conduct a lien sale.

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

(3) If a hearing in court 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 that the notice required pursuant to subdivision (b) was mailed.

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

(5) 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.

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

(d) If the department receives the Declaration of Opposition form in the time specified, the department shall notify the lienholder within 16 days of the receipt of the form that a lien sale shall not be conducted unless the lienholder files an action in court within 30 days of the department’s notice under this subdivision. A lien sale of the vehicle shall not be conducted unless 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 the inability to effect service on the declarant and shall provide the department with a copy of the documents with which service on the declarant was attempted. Upon receipt of the notification of unsuccessful service, the department shall send authorization of the sale to the lienholder and send notification of the authorization to the declarant.

(f) Upon receipt of authorization to conduct the lien sale from the department, the lienholder shall immediately do all of the following:

(1) At least five days, but not more than 20 days, prior to the lien sale, not counting the day of the sale, give notice of the sale by advertising once in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county in which the vehicle is located. If there is no newspaper published in the county, notice shall be given by posting a Notice of Sale form in three of the most public places in the town in which the vehicle is located and at the place where the vehicle is to be sold for 10 consecutive days prior to and including the day of the sale.

(2) Send a Notice of Pending Lien Sale form 20 days prior to the sale but not counting the day of sale, by certified mail with return receipt requested, to each of the following:

(A) The registered and legal owners of the vehicle, if registered in this state.

(B) All persons known to have an interest in the vehicle.

(C) The department.

(g) All notices required by this section, including the notice forms prescribed by the department, shall specify the make, year model, vehicle identification number, license number, and state of registration, if available, and the specific date, exact time, and place of sale. For motorcycles, the engine number shall also be included.

(h) 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 to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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

(j) 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 for 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.

(k) Within 10 days after the sale of any vehicle pursuant to this section, the legal or registered owner may redeem the vehicle upon the payment of the amount of the sale, all costs and expenses of the sale, together with interest on the sum at the rate of 12 percent per annum from the due date thereof or the date when that sum was advanced until the repayment. If the vehicle is not redeemed, all lien sale documents required by the department shall then be completed and delivered to the buyer.

(l) 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.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 127, Sec. 1. Effective July 30, 2001.)

3071.5.
  

(a) A registered or legal owner of a vehicle in the possession of a person holding a lien under this chapter may release any interest in the vehicle after the lien has arisen. The release shall be dated when signed and a copy shall be given at the time the release is signed to the person releasing the interest.

(b) The release shall be in at least 12-point type and shall contain all of the following information in simple, nontechnical language:

(1) A description of the vehicle, including the year and make, the engine or vehicle identification number, and the license number, if available.

(2) The names and addresses of the registered and legal owners of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles, if available.

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

(4) A statement that the person releasing the interest understands that (i) he has a legal right to a hearing in court prior to any sale of the vehicle to satisfy the lien and (ii) he is giving up the right to appear to contest the claim of the lienholder.

(5) A statement that (i) the person releasing the interest gives up any interest he may have in the vehicle and (ii) he is giving the lienholder permission to sell the vehicle.

(c) The release required by this section shall not be filed with the department in connection with any transfer of interest in a vehicle.

(Amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1005.)

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 127, Sec. 2. Effective July 30, 2001.)

3073.
  

The proceeds of a vehicle lien sale under this article shall be disposed of as follows:

(a) The amount necessary to discharge the lien and the cost of processing the vehicle shall be paid to the lienholder. The cost of processing shall not exceed seventy dollars ($70) for each vehicle valued at four thousand dollars ($4,000) or less, or one hundred dollars ($100) for each vehicle valued over four thousand dollars ($4,000).

(b) The balance, if any, shall be forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of any sale conducted pursuant to Section 3071 or within five days of any sale conducted pursuant to Section 3072 and deposited in the Motor Vehicle Account in the State Transportation Fund, unless federal law requires these funds to be disposed in a different manner.

(c) Any person claiming an interest in the vehicle may file a claim with the Department of Motor Vehicles for any portion of the funds from the lien sale that were forwarded to the department pursuant to subdivision (b). Upon a determination of the Department of Motor Vehicles that the claimant is entitled to an amount from the balance deposited with the department, the department shall pay that amount determined by the department, which amount shall not exceed the amount forwarded to the department pursuant to subdivision (b) in connection with the sale of the vehicle in which the claimant claims an interest. The department shall not honor any claim unless the claim has been filed within three years of the date the funds were deposited in the Motor Vehicle Account.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 203, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1999.)

3074.
  

The lienholder may charge a fee for lien sale preparations not to exceed seventy dollars ($70) in the case of a vehicle having a value determined to be four thousand dollars ($4,000) or less and not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) in the case of a vehicle having a value determined to be greater than four thousand dollars ($4,000), from any person who redeems the vehicle prior to disposal or is paid through a lien sale pursuant to this chapter. These charges may commence and become part of the possessory lien when the lienholder requests the names and addresses of all persons having an interest in the vehicle from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Not more than 50 percent of the allowable fee may be charged until the lien sale notifications are mailed to all interested parties and the lienholder or registration service agent has possession of the required lien processing documents. This charge shall not be made in the case of any vehicle redeemed prior to 72 hours from the initial storage.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 203, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1999.)

CIVCivil Code - CIV