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?
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.
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.
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.