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I have this car that I don't technically have the title for because the person I purchased it from filled out the title like we had a $200 lien on the car (we paid cash outright) and now I can't get in contact with the person who I purchased the car from. I sent a certified letter and tried calling for months. The car has been broken down for years and has just been stuck in our driveway. How do I get rid of the car?

  • You could have it towed to a junkyard. If that's not satisfactory, yo might explain in more detail what the problem is. – user6726 Oct 10 '18 at 17:43
  • One thought that occurs to me: do you know who the lien is owed to? If its not the seller, it may have been a valid lien, which may have made the sale illegal... – sharur Oct 10 '18 at 19:31
  • Which country are you in? – Jason Aller Oct 12 '18 at 17:05
  • I'm in the USA. California. The lien is said to be owed to the seller, who I cannot get into contact with. – Jesse Otradovec Oct 14 '18 at 0:34
  • I tried to have it towed. They won't take it. – Jesse Otradovec Oct 14 '18 at 0:34
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https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/lob/lob_top describes the procedure for dealing with a lien held by a financial institution that no longer exists or cannot be reached. I'd expect the same would work for a private lienholder.

  1. What if the listing shows the financial institution as "Closed" or "No Information Available?"

    If the listing shows the financial institution as "Closed" or "No Information Available," follow these steps:

    • Provide evidence of your attempt to obtain a release by sending a certified letter requesting the release to the legal owner’s address shown on your vehicle/vessel registration.
    • Submit the unopened, returned certified letter or postal receipt to DMV after 30 days with no response from the lienholder.
    • Complete Section G of a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form outlining the steps taken to obtain a release from the legal owner.
    • State how, when, and from whom the vehicle/vessel was acquired, that it is free of liens, and how the current value was determined. If appraised, the appraisal must accompany the REG 256.
    • Include a motor vehicle bond purchased for the current retail (fair market) value of the vehicle. The bond must be purchased from a business currently licensed to do business in California. Consult the Bonds Surety and Fidelity section of your local telephone directory. The purchaser (Principal) must sign the bond.
    • Keep a copy of all documents for your records.

    • Submit all completed documents listed by mail to:

    Department of Motor Vehicles

    Registration Operations Division, MS

    D273 PO Box 942869

    Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

DMV will contact you within 4–6 weeks.

I don't quite understand the part about stating that the vehicle is free of liens, which wouldn't be true. If it were me, I'd write in the statement that the vehicle is free of any other liens.

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Call a local wrecking yard and get them to tow it away as a junk vehicle. They will know the local laws regarding the need for a clear title to the vehicle, or if you need to show any title or any ownership for the car.

  • However, make sure that you get them what they need before they take away the vehicle. I once had a wrecking yard tow away a wrecked vehicle from a crash site. I could not provide the title right away, and in the meantime they charged me a daily storage fee. – Nate Eldredge Oct 11 '18 at 22:56
  • I tried to call a wrecking yard. They say that if it's not my vehicle, I don't have a right to get rid of it. But it's... you know... sitting in my driveway.... stuck there.... – Jesse Otradovec Oct 14 '18 at 0:32

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