Removing a Lien in Georgia
You may have a lien on your car title if you financed your car and are still making payments towards it. A car title lien may affect some decisions you can make regarding your vehicle, and it will last on your title until the point that you've paid off your car loan.
After the loan is satisfied, you will be able to remove the lien from your car title with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS).
What Is a Car Title Lien?
A lien is a document that legally protects a property owner against the chance that he or she will not receive full payment for something they have sold.
In the case of a lien on a Georgia car title, the document gives the lienholder the right to repossess the vehicle should you fail to make sufficient payments. In some states, a car title lien may also give a lienholder the ability to mandate the type of car insurance you must purchase for the vehicle, which will last throughout the life of the loan.
Who Is a Lienholder in Georgia?
A lienholder is the entity or individual who wrote the car loan. Most often, a lienholder will be a:
- Credit union.
- Financial firm,
Throughout the life of the car loan, the lienholder may also be referred to as the legal car owner.
A lienholder will usually be in possession of the car title until you have completed making payments. The lienholder's name may also appear on the title throughout that time.
Remove a Lien from Your GA Title
Once you pay off a lien on your car, the lienholder will release it from your title.
If you have an Electronic Lien on Title (ELT), you need to contact the lienholder to have it released.
For liens recorded on the paper title itself, the lienholder will:
- Complete the lien release on the title.
- Mail the title to you, UNLESS:
- You have an additional lien: The title will be sent to the next lienholder.
- The title is not immediately available: The lienholder will send you a Notice of Satisfaction of Security Interest or Lien Holder's Affidavit (Form T-4).
You will keep the original title showing the lien and lien release until you complete a DMV title transfer when you sell or trade the vehicle.
You DO NOT need a lien release for a lien that has been on a title for:
- At least 10 years from the title's date of issue IF the vehicle's model years is 11 years old or newer.
- At least 4 years from the title's date of issue IF the vehicle's model years is at least 12 years old.
If your title is ever lost or stolen after the lien is released, you will need to get a new Notice of Satisfaction of Security Interest or Lien Holder's Affidavit (Form T-4) in order to get a duplicate title.
When a Lienholder Cannot Be Contacted
If your lienholder has gone out of business or is no longer licensed, you must:
- Get confirmation that the company is out of business from a regulatory agency.
- The GA DDS provides a list of the largest regulatory agencies in Georgia.
- Send a letter using registered mail to the lienholder at their last known address as shown on the state's title records.
- Make sure to request a return receipt.
Once you've received the returned letter in the mail, it must be submitted to your local Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) office, along with:
- The intact green postal card.
- The title.
- A signed letter from the regulatory agency stating that the lienholder is out of business (unlicensed).
- Fees required for title issuance.
This process does NOT APPLY when:
- The lienholder is an individual.
- The lienholder company has merged with another company and is operating under a different name.
- The lienholder company is not regulated by a state agency.