Buying a pre-owned vehicle? Watch for liens!
If you purchase a vehicle with a lien, you are responsible for payment of that lien before you can transfer the title into your name.
Liens fall into two general categories:
- Appear on the front of the title, in the space marked “Lienholders”
- Are generally for a defined period of time
- When paid/satisfied, the vehicle owner receives a “lien release”
- Owner may take the lien release to MVD or an authorized Third Party office to obtain a new title
- Or, the vehicle owner may give the buyer the signed and notarized title with a lien release from the lender
- Can be added electronically and are not shown on the title
- Are not for a defined period of time and can be added or deleted at any time.
Example: If a vehicle owner owes child support fees (Child Support lien) or court fines/fees (Operation of Law lien), a lien can be placed on the vehicle record that prevents the title from being transferred to a new owner until those fines/fees are paid
- Must be paid before you can transfer the title into your name
How can I protect myself from purchasing a vehicle with a lien?
- Buyer and seller should go to MVD or an authorized Third Party office together to transfer the title. Many Third Party offices are open evenings and weekends.
- Do not pay for the vehicle until you have verified the title can be transferred
Please note: New liens are added to vehicles every day, therefore, you are taking a risk if you check the record and then pay for the vehicle a later time.
Effective June 30, 2013 a new service will be available to check for liens and unresolved financial obligations on a Arizona titled vehicle.