Long Liens (Over $4000)

Requesting Authorization To Conduct a Lien Sale for a Vehicle Valued Over $4,000


You must apply to the DMV for authorization to conduct a lien sale, according to the provisions of Civil Code §3071. A fee must accompany your application. This fee may be recovered by the lienholder as follows:


From the buyer at the time of the lien sale


From the debtor if the vehicle is redeemed.


Your application for authorization must contain the vehicle identification number. If you cannot locate the number, you may request an inspection of the vehicle by a peace officer, licensed vehicle verifier, or an authorized DMV employee.

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Contact Us

Middleman Liens

PO Box 675


CA 94044



Tel:(650) 557-0500

Email: [email protected]



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Notification of Your Request

When DMV receives a request to conduct a lien sale for a vehicle valued over $4,000, the department shall notify the:


Registered and legal owners and any interested parties by certified mail


Out-of-state vehicle registry, if the vehicle bears registration from another state.

Authority To Conduct the Lien Sale


You must wait for authorization from DMV before proceeding with the lien sale process. Allow 30–40 days to receive authorization.


Any person having an interest in the vehicle may declare opposition to the sale. DMV will notify you if a declaration of opposition is filed and the sale canceled. You may then secure your lien:


Through judicial proceeding. Service may be effected by certified mail or in person by a marshal, sheriff, or certified process server (process servers are registered by the county clerk of the respective counties). This must be done within 30 days from the date on the denial letter.


By obtaining a release of interest signed by the person(s) who declared opposition.


By filing a Notice of Unsuccessful Service with DMV when service cannot be effected on the person opposing the sale. Evidence of unsuccessful service is required.

When DMV receives one of the listed items, DMV will send authorization to continue with the sale and notify the person who opposed the sale of the authorization.

Storage Lien Limitation


The period of time for a storage lien may not exceed 60 days, unless an application for authorization to conduct the lien sale is filed within 30 days after the lien arises, and then it may be for a period not to exceed 120 days (pursuant to California Vehicle Code §22851). Other liens for towing or contracted services (such as mechanical repairs) apply, regardless of the period allowed. Any vehicle stored at a self-storage facility for which a lien has incurred shall be sold under the provisions of Civil Code §3071.

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