A mechanic's lien can be established against a vehicle by a repair or storage facility after the vehicle's owner fails to pay the repair or storage fee and leaves the vehicle in the custody of the facility for an extended period of time. After taking the required actions to establish a mechanic's lien, the repair or storage facility can then sell the vehicle at a public auction in order to recoup the monies owed by the vehicle's owner.
If you are the owner or representative of a repair or storage facility that wishes to establish a mechanic's lien against a vehicle left in your custody, see Obtaining a Mechanic's Lien.
If you purchased a vehicle with a mechanic's lien from a public auction, see Titling a Vehicle with a Mechanic's Lien.
All of the following conditions must be true before your repair or storage facility can establish a mechanic's lien:
- Charges for the vehicle's or motor home's repairs, rebuilding or storage must go unpaid for a period of at least thirty (30) days. For trailers ONLY, charges must go unpaid for at least ninety (90) days.
- Charges must be supported by a repair authorization as required by Maryland commercial law and a completed repair order authorized by the vehicle owner or the person who brought the vehicle in for repair, including a detailed description of work performed and parts and labor costs.
- Storage charges must be supported by a storage contract signed by the vehicle owner or the person who brought the vehicle in for storage, or if applicable, a written statement from the storage facility describing the agreement with an insurer or other party.
- A vehicle that has been abandoned does not qualify for a mechanic's lien. The local police department should be contacted. For information regarding an abandoned vehicle see Certificate of Salvage Request.
- If the vehicle owner disputes the amount of the charges, he may institute an action of replevin in Circuit Court. Upon notification of the replevin action, the MVA will not issue a title for the vehicle until the case has been decided.
At least ten (10) days prior to the planned auction date for the vehicle, you must send a notification letter by registered mail (return receipt requested) to the persons listed below notifying them of your plan to sell the vehicle at a public auction.
- The owner(s) of the vehicle;
- The person who left the vehicle (if someone other than the vehicle owner);
- All holders of a security interest in the vehicle; and
- The Mechanic's Lien Unit in the MVA's Glen Burnie office.
The letter must include:
- the vehicle's identification number (VIN), year of manufacture, and make;
- a list of all charges owed to you;
- a statement that the vehicle will be auctioned unless the vehicle is retrieved and all charges paid prior to the auction; and
- the date, time, and place of the planned auction.
For trailers ONLY, the letters must be mailed at least thirty (30) days prior to the planned auction date. You must obtain a certified copy of the vehicle's record from the MVA in order to obtain the information needed to send the letters.
When the green, postal receipt card is returned to you from the vehicle owner, be sure that the owner or the owner's agent has signed the card; the MVA cannot accept other persons' signatures.
You must also place a notice in one or more newspapers in the county or city where the auction is to be conducted. The notice must include the date, time, and place of the auction, and a detailed description of the vehicle to be sold (VIN, year, and make). The newspaper notice must be published at least once per week for two (2) consecutive weeks prior to the auction date, and there must be seven (7) days between the first and second publications. If the newspaper advertisement is incorrect, you must re-advertise and again send certified letters before the vehicle can be auctioned.
The vehicle must be sold at public auction in a place convenient to the general public between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. In Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, a licensed auctioneer must conduct the auction. Once the vehicle is sold, you must give the new owner all of the information collected above so he may obtain a new Maryland Certificate of Title.
How do I title a vehicle with a mechanic's lien that I purchased from a public auction?
You can apply for a title and registration in person at any of the MVA's full service branch offices. You can also mail the documents to the MVA's Mechanic's Lien Unit in the Glen Burnie office, or go to an MVA licensed tag and title service where they will assist you in applying.
Typically, the title application documents needed (along with payment for taxes and fees) include:
- Proof of ownership - You must submit the following documents which should have been provided to you by the auctioneer:
- Certification of Mechanic's Lien and Auctioneer's Receipt - the receipt must be fully completed, including the price you paid for the vehicle;
- A pencil tracing of the vehicle's identification number (VIN). If you cannot obtain a pencil tracing, a written affidavit certifying the vehicle's identification number (VIN) and signed by you may be submitted.
- A copy of the notification letter sent by the repair or storage facility to the previous vehicle owner and the green postal receipt signed by the vehicle owner or his agent - If the letter could not be delivered, you will need to submit the unclaimed, unopened notification letter(s);
- A copy of the newspaper notice of the planned auction and a certification from the newspaper that the notice was published.
- Application form - You must submit the Application for Certificate of Title. Be sure to include your insurance information. Your policy must conform to Maryland's minimum liability insurance requirements.
- Proof of purchase price - The purchase price should be included on the Certification of Mechanic's Lien and Auctioneer's Receipt. A notarized bill of sale also must be submitted if the sale price of the vehicle is less than the "book" value.
- Odometer Disclosure Statement - You can use the MVA's Odometer Disclosure Statement or any other form that meets federal requirements.
- Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate - The Maryland State Police form certifies that your vehicle meets Maryland safety standards. It is valid for up to ninety (90) days from the date issued.
Under certain circumstances, additional information and/or forms may be required:
- Lien information - If you borrowed money to buy the vehicle, the lien information may need to be recorded on the application. The MVA form entitled Security Interest Filing Statement must be used if a second lien is placed against the title.
- Power of attorney - If someone other than you, the new owner, is signing the titling forms, this document is required.
Note that if you also intend to register the vehicle additional forms are usually needed. Registration requirements vary greatly by the type and intended use of the vehicle. The requirements for most vehicles can be found in Registration - Common Vehicles. If your vehicle is unusual, access the infoMVA homepage to find the applicable registration description.
Your title will be mailed to you regardless of how you apply for it. If you also register the vehicle, your registration card, license plates and expiration stickers can be provided immediately when you apply in person to the MVA; otherwise, these items will also be mailed to you.
- The fee for titling a vehicle typically includes a title fee, excise tax, and a security interest (lien) filing fee if required.
- The fee for registration varies by the type of vehicle and/or its intended use. See Fees for Registration Plates for more information.
Mechanic's Lien Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway, N.E.
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: