Removing a Lien in Alaska
What Is a Lien?
A lien is essentially a legal insurance policy placed on a piece of property. It protects the owner of the property against the chance that they will not receive full payment for the item in question.
In the case of a lien on a car title, it will allow for the lien holder to repossess the car should the buyer default on or stop paying their car loans.
Who Is a Lienholder?
Most commonly in the case of a car title lien, the lienholder is the person or institution responsible for generating a car loan.
If your car loan was issued by a bank or financial firm, they are the lienholder on your car title. This means that they will be in possession of the car title throughout the time that the loans are being paid off.
Other possible lienholder may include mechanics, towing companies, or storage company.
Types of Liens in Alaska
While a lien on a car title for an auto loan is the most common type of lien, there are several other types of vehicle liens in Alaska, including:
- Work (mechanic's) lien—Holds a vehicle owner accountable for fees owed to a mechanic.
- Towing (impound) lien—Holds a vehicle owner accountable for fees owed to a person who tows or stores towed cars.
- Storage (warehouse) lien—Holds a vehicle owner accountable for fees owed to a person who stores cars.
In any of these cases, the lien will remain in effect throughout the time that the car is in possession of the mechanic, tow company, or storage company. The car may be sold in order to pay the charges.
Removing a Lien from an AK Title
Once you've paid off your loans, you'll be ready to remove the lien from your Alaska vehicle title. That means you'll own your car free and clear.
The process starts with the lienholder, who will sign off on the title and send it to you. The vehicle title transfer is simple after that. You'll need to apply for a “clear" title with the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
If you lose your title, you must obtain a lien release from the lienholder before you can apply for a “clear" title.
Apply for a “Clear" Title
To obtain a clear title, you'll need to take these items to your nearest DMV office:
- The title certificate that has been signed by the lienholder.
- The release must be dated and include the signature and title of the person releasing the lien.
- A “Paid" stamp is NOT an acceptable lien release.
- If your existing title is from Alaska:
- A completed Vehicle Transaction Application (Form 821).
- If your existing title is from another state:
- A completed Application for Title & Registration (Form 812).
- $15 for the title transfer fee.