Removing a Lien in Washington DC

If you bought a car in Washington, D.C. and took out a loan to purchase the vehicle, there will be a lien on your car title. As long as you're paying off your car loan, the lien will stay on your title. Once you've satisfied the loan, however, you'll be able to get the lien released at the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What Is a Car Lien?

Property owners, service providers, and lenders often use liens in order to protect their investments. It's a type of collateral, giving them legal recourse should they not receive full payment.

The lien on your D.C. title will give your lienholder the right to repossess your car if you are unable to continue making payments on it or default on your auto loan.

While there is a lien on your vehicle title, it won't legally be considered your property by the D.C. DMV.

Who Is a D.C. Lienholder?

The person or corporation offering money or services up front in a situation is typically the lienholder.

The lienholder on your Washington, D.C. title is the individual or business that issued your car loan. Most of the time, it will be a bank, credit union, or other lender.

Your lienholder will most likely be in possession of your title until you've paid your car loan in full.

Removing a Lien in Washington, D.C.

Once you pay the lien off of your vehicle, you can have it removed from the title by submitting one of the following to the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • A letter of financing stating the lien has been satisfied.
    • Must be on company letterhead.
  • A loan agreement (certified) with the bank's "paid" stamp.
  • The certificate of title with a lien release stamp.

You'll need to take one of the above documents to the D.C. DMV office nearest you and apply for a duplicate title.

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