Removing a Lien in New Hampshire

Did you take out a loan to pay for your car? If so, chances are there’s a lien on your car title—and it’s going to stay there until you pay off the loan and get a car title in your name from the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What Is a Car Lien in NH?

When you take out a car loan, your lender places a lien on the car title, financially protecting themselves in case you don’t pay back the loan.

Basically, a lien is the lender’s legal claim on your vehicle and stays in effect until you satisfy the loan, after which you can apply for a clear title with the New Hampshire DMV. Once you do that, you become the legal owner.

When you take out a car loan, your lender places a lien on the car title, financially protecting themselves in case you don’t pay back the loan.

Other Types of Liens

The most common type of car title lien is the one a lienholder places on your title when you take out an auto loan.

However, there are other instances when an individual person or an entity might put a lien on your vehicle title. Examples include, but aren’t limited to, when you:

  • Don’t pay for vehicle-related services.
    • Such services can include mechanic work, towing, or storage.
  • Use your vehicle as collateral during a transaction.
  • Agree to the lien as part of a divorce settlement.

These situations are unique to each person; thus, it’s best to talk to the lienholder and an NH DMV agent about how to satisfy the lien and have it removed from your car title.

Who Are New Hampshire Lienholders?

The lienholder is the individual person or business that issued your car loan.

Most often, lienholders are financial institutions such as banks and credit unions; however, your lender could be a car dealer or even a private party (i.e. individual person) who gave you a personal loan.

Remember, even though the car is in your possession, your lienholder is the legal owner and has the power to repossess the vehicle if you don’t stick to the payment agreement.

NH Car Title Lien Release

Once you pay off your auto loan, you can apply for a clear car title in your name by submitting:

  • A completed Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title (Form TDMV 18) with any of the following:
    • The release of lien section of your application completed and singed by the lienholder, and notarized.
    • A separate signed and notarized Release of Lien or Other Encumbrances (Form TDMV 20A).
    • Separate documents from your lienholder which include:
      • Your car title, properly stamped to indicate your lien has been paid/released.
      • A lien release letter on the bank’s letterhead with a notarized signature.
  • A check made payable to “State of NH—DMV” for the $25 title fee.

Bring everything in person to a NH DMV office or mail the items to:

New Hampshire Department of Safety
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305

Once the DMV processes your application, you’ll receive your clear car title and officially be the car’s legal owner

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