What is a garagekeeper's lien? How do I get one?

A garagekeeper’s lien can be obtained when payment for motor vehicle repairs made at the owner’s request are not made 30 days after the work is complete. With a lien, the garagekeeper can recover the costs by selling the vehicle to a third party if necessary. The garagekeeper’s lien is also known as the mechanic’s lien.

To obtain a garagekeeper’s lien:

  1. Mail the following to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Vehicle Services Division, 44 Vantage Way, Suite 160, Nashville, TN 37243-8050:
  • Vehicle Information Request form;
  • itemized list of all charges on business letterhead; and
  • applicable fees.
  1. Upon receipt of information from the Department of Revenue, the garagekeeper must send notice to the vehicle’s owner of record, any lienholders and/or person who claims interest in the vehicle.

The notice must:

  • be sent by registered mail, with a return receipt requested. If the notice is delivered in person, it must involve a notarized affidavit naming the person who delivered it. The notice must also specify the time, place and the manner in which the notice was given; and
  • include complete description of vehicle, itemized statement of charges and a specified due date for payment not less than 10 days from the delivery of notice.
  1. If the amount owed is not paid in time, the vehicle can be advertised for sale at auction in a local newspaper in the area where the repairs occurred. The sale must be scheduled at least 15 days from the time of publication. If there is not a newspaper available to advertise the sale, an advertisement must be posted at least 10 days before the auction in at least six conspicuous public places in the area where the vehicle will be sold.
  1. After auction, the purchaser may apply for the title and registration of the vehicle at his or her local county clerk office. The purchaser should present the following documents:
  • Certificate of Sales Under Special Conditions;
  • VIR form received from Department of Revenue
  • certified mail receipts;
  • copy of newspaper advertisement for vehicle sale at auction, or notarized affidavit attesting to six posting of the sale in a public place along with copy of actual posted advertisement;
  • itemized statement of storage and towing fees owed;
  • odometer statement, if applicable.

 

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