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Removing a Lien in Ohio

If you took a loan out to buy your car and are still in the process of paying it off, there will be a lien on your Ohio car title. The car will not legally be considered yours until the loan has been paid in full. Once you have satisfied the car loan, you can have the lien removed from the title with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

What Is an Ohio Vehicle Lien?

A lien is a form of legal protection for lenders, property owners or service providers. It gives them a way to recoup any monetary losses they may experience in the event that a loan or bill goes unpaid.

When there's a lien on your Ohio car title, your lienholder will have the legal right to repossess your vehicle if you are unable to keep making payments or default on your loan.

The OH BMV requires all lienholders to contact car buyers before taking this step.

Lienholders in Ohio

The individual or financial institution providing the money up front in a transaction is typically the lienholder. When you finance a car in Ohio, your lienholder is the person or business that wrote your car loan. Most of the time, this will be a bank, credit union or other lender.

Your lienholder will be in possession of your Ohio car title until the loan has been paid in full. The lienholder's name will also appear on the document until that time.

Removing a Lien on Ohio Titles

Once your car loan has been satisfied, you will be able to remove the lien from your Ohio car title. Typically, the OH BMV does not get involved in this manner. You will have to contact your lienholder in order to begin the process.

The next step varies slightly, depending on the type of car title you have:

  • Paper titles will be mailed to you, signed by your lender on the front of the document.
  • Electronic titles require a lien release statement to be sent from your lienholder.
    • You must take the statement to your local Ohio county title office, where you will receive your new title.

If you have difficulty reaching your lender or receiving your new title from your local county office, you can contact the BMV. You must reach out to your local title office FIRST before involving the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

You will need to send to the OH BMV:

  • A notarized statement of facts, including:
    • The car's year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Your name.
    • Your contact phone number and address.
    • Specific details describing the problem and your desired outcome.
  • Proof of the lien release, e.g.:
    • Cancelled check(s).
    • Paid receipt(s).
      AND/OR
    • A credit report listing the vehicle as “paid in full" by the creditor.
      • The creditor's name and the date of the loan must be included on the report.

The information can be faxed or mailed.

Faxes must include a cover sheet, and can be sent to (614) 752-8929.

Documents can be mailed to:

  • Regular mail:
    • Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    • P.O. Box 16520
    • Columbus, OH 43216
    • Attn: Title Support Section

The OH BMV process the inquiry and send a response.

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