Vehicle Legal Issues – Q and A

Q: I bought a vehicle at an auction and found there is a lien. Now the DMV will not give me title until the lien is removed.

A: Always keep in mind that you are buying at a distressed sale without warranties.  How vehicles and boats are titled varies by state. You need to review the self storage lien law of your state and the laws governing the involuntary sale of vehicles and boats.

Q: If I buy a vehicle do I get a clear title?

A: You will get clear title against most third party claims. The one exception are claims of disclosed lienholders. States differ on this and if you are a frequent vehicle or boat purchaser should check with the DMV.

Read More: 6 Weirdest Storage Unit Finds

Q: If the sale is final and there is limited liability for a Buyer, what happens if the Storage Unit owner failed to properly check and see if a registered vehicle such as a motorcycle had a lien against it and sells the unit at auction anyways. What repercussions could the lien holder have against the Buyer of the unit?

A: First, keep in mind that you are buying property “as is” without representations or warranties. This includes the condition of the title. In some states the owner has no obligation to determine if there is a lien on a vehicle, in others, the owner may be required to provide the lien-holder notice of the lien sale. All lien issues it is determined by state law and there is no consistency among the states.

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Scott Zucker is a founding partner in the law firm of Weissmann/Zucker. Scott represents self storage owners and managers throughout the country on legal matters in the areas of foreclosure and lien sales, premises liability, loss control safeguards, ADA defense and employment disputes.

Scott is Deputy General Counsel to the national Self Storage Association, legal counsel to a number of State self storage associations, a frequent lecturer at national self storage conventions and is a contributing legal writer for trade magazines

He is also a partner with Carlos Kaslow in the Self Storage Legal Network, a subscription based legal services for self storage owners and managers, available to SSA members.

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