How Do You Get a Lien Release on a Vehicle in New York?
Last Updated on January 13, 2023
You need a lien release if you need to remove a lienholder from a title certificate in New York.
To get a lien release, you mail documentation to the DMV, including proof the lien was satisfied, your current title certificate, and a check or money order. You do not need to visit your local DMV, nor can you complete the process online.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about getting a lien release on a vehicle in New York.
Table of Contents:
- How to Remove a Lienholder in New York
- How Liens Work
- Types of Acceptable Proof for Getting a Lien Release
- How to Get a Lien Release
How to Remove a Lienholder in New York
Removing a lienholder from a title certificate in New York is easy.
You do not need to visit a local DMV to remove a lien. Instead, just mail the following items:
- Proof the lien was satisfied. This must be original proof, and the DMV does not accept photocopies.
- Your current title certificate. This also must be the original title certificate, and the DMV does not accept photocopies.
- A check or money order for $20.00 payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
Mail all three of the above items to the following address:
NYS DMV Title Services
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228-0331
You’ll hear back from the New York DMV within 60 to 90 days. The DMV will mail a certificate of title to your address. That title will verify you have complete ownership of your vehicle with no lienholders.
How Liens Work
A lien is a claim on property to ensure payment of debt.
If you are financing a vehicle, for example, then you have borrowed money to buy your car. The lender – say, the dealership or the dealership’s financing company – files a lien on the vehicle with the state.
The lien allows the vehicle to be used as collateral for the loan. If you stop making loan payments, your lender can take your vehicle.
Once you have completed making car payments and fully paid off your vehicle, the lender will send a lien release document. This lien release document verifies you have complete ownership of your vehicle and there’s no longer a lien.
Many lenders also send a lien release to the DMV to verify you have fully paid off your vehicle.
Types of Acceptable Proof for Getting a Lien Release
To get a lien release in New York, you must mail certain documentation to the DMV. The DMV requires original versions of this documentation – not photocopies.
Per New York DMV regulations, the DMV accepts two types of acceptable proof that a lien is satisfied:
Notice of Recorded Lien (MV-901): The lienholder can send this a Notice of Recorded Lien (also known as MV-901) to you, and an authorized officer of the lienholder must sign the form and note the lien has been satisfied. Most lenders use MV-901 forms to remove lienholders from titles. If you worked with a major financing company for your auto loan, you should receive an MV-901 form after completing your final car payments.
A Letter from the Lienholder: Alternatively, the lienholder can write a letter indicating the lien has been satisfied. This letter must be printed on the official letterhead of the loan company. It also must be signed by an authorized officer. The letter should identify the vehicle and indicate the lien has been satisfied. If the lienholder is a person and not a lending company, then the letter must be notarized.
Once you have obtained one of the above acceptable proofs, you can send the original proof to the DMV to remove a lienholder.
How to Get a Lien Release
To obtain a lien release on a vehicle in New York, you must obtain a lien release authorization document from the lienholder – like the lender.
You can obtain a lien release via the following:
- Pay the balance of your loan back to your lender. After receiving the full payment of your loan and all incurred interest, the lender will send you a lien release document. Per New York regulations, the lender must mail the release to the owner within three days of clearing the full payment. The lender also sends a notice to the DMV verifying you have paid off your car loan.
- Submit a request to the lender for a lien release. If you have paid off your vehicle but have not yet received a lien release document from the lender, then submit a request through the DMV or the lender. It’s possible the lien release document was lost in the mail or never sent.
- Contact the DMV to verify all liens have been removed from your vehicle. The DMV can verify whether or not they received lien release documents. Then, the DMV can issue a new title for your vehicle.
- You may need to request a replacement title to obtain a lien release. The DMV may request a current title of the vehicle before releasing a lienholder, for example. If you do not have your title, you can request a replacement title from the DMV.
- If your lender has closed down or is no longer available (say, if the bank failed), then the FDIC may provide a release of lien for your vehicle. Many failed banks enter FDIC receivership, and the FDIC can provide you with a lien release.
Obtaining a lien release in New York will give you a vehicle with a free title. After removing all lienholders from your title, you have full and complete vehicle ownership.
To obtain a lien release in New York, contact your lender after completing all vehicle payments. Then, mail paperwork to the DMV to verify the lien release. The DMV requires proof the lien was satisfied, your current title certificate, and a check or money order for $20.00.
After meeting the requirements, the DMV will send a free title to your address within 90 days.