A mechanic’s lien is a process afforded to licensed automotive facilities in order to recover costs for repairing a vehicle. Similar to the mechanic’s lien, many states also allow for storage facilities to file a similar lien on stored vehicles known as a storage lien. In Virginia, these two liens are processed in essentially the same method. If you’re an automotive mechanic or storage facility in Virginia looking to file a mechanic’s lien or storage lien (MSL), there are strict requirements and timelines to file. So how do you file a mechanic’s lien?

When filing a mechanic’s lien in Virginia, the first step is to determine the NADA value of the vehicle. The NADA value provides the book value of the vehicle which translates to how much the vehicle is worth. This step is especially crucial for filing a mechanic’s lien in Virginia as different filing procedures will exist for different value vehicles.

Virginia mechanic’s lien procedures by NADA value

NADA Value: $3,000 or less 

  • Submit VSA41 and apply for the official vehicle transcript from the DMV
  • Provide proof that you’ve possessed the vehicle for a minimum of 30 days
  • Submit requirements for state title application, nonrepairable certificate, or sell the vehicle.

This procedure to file a mechanic’s lien requires that there is no record of owner or lienholder on official DMV records. If a record is found, the owner and/or lienholder must be notified in accordance with MSL guidelines. Additionally, the vehicle must be at least 6 years older than the current model year.

NADA Value: $12,500 or less

  • Submit VSA41 and apply for the official vehicle transcript from the DMV
  • Notify all owner(s) and lienholder(s) by certified mail of your intent to sell the vehicle at least 10 days prior to the auction
  • If no owner(s) is located, you must post 3 public notices of the auction: one in a public place in the city or county where the vehicle is located, one on an official Commonwealth of Virginia property or website, and one in a city or county newspaper or website.
  • Provide proof that you’ve possessed the vehicle for a minimum of 30 days
  • Advertise the date, time, and location of the auction in at least one public place at least 10 days prior to the auction.
  • Once the vehicle is sold, the seller must provide documentation on the MSL process in accordance with VSA41.

NADA Value: $12,501-$25,000

  • Submit VSA41 and apply for the official vehicle transcript from the DMV
  • Notify all owner(s) and lienholder(s) by certified mail of your intent to sell the vehicle at least 10 days prior to the auction
  • If no owner(s) is located, you must post 3 public notices of the auction: one in a public place in the city or county where the vehicle is located, one on an official Commonwealth of Virginia property or website, and one in a city or county newspaper or website.
  • Provide proof that you’ve possessed the vehicle for a minimum of 30 days
  • Advertise the date, time, and location of the auction in at least one public place at least 10 days prior to the auction.
  • Petition to the General District Court of the county or city where the vehicle is located to order the vehicle sale. You must be granted the petition by the court.
  • Hold the vehicle auction through the sheriff of the jurisdiction once it is ordered.
  • The sheriff then must complete an affidavit of compliance that acknowledges the sale was in compliance with the court order.

NADA Value: $25,000+

  • Submit VSA41 and apply for the official vehicle transcript from the DMV
  • Notify all owner(s) and lienholder(s) by certified mail of your intent to sell the vehicle at least 10 days prior to the auction
  • If no owner(s) is located, you must post 3 public notices of the auction: one in a public place in the city or county where the vehicle is located, one on an official Commonwealth of Virginia property or website, and one in a city or county newspaper or website.
  • Provide proof that you’ve possessed the vehicle for a minimum of 30 days
  • Advertise the date, time, and location of the auction in at least one public place at least 10 days prior to the auction.
  • Petition to the Circuit Court of the county or city where the vehicle is located to order the vehicle sale. You must be granted the petition by the court.
  • Hold the vehicle auction through the sheriff of the jurisdiction once it is ordered.
  • The sheriff then must complete an affidavit of compliance that acknowledges the sale was in compliance with the court order.

The Virginia mechanic’s lien process and storage lien process is a very valuable and powerful tool. Unfortunately, oftentimes mechanic’s liens are not filed in good faith. The DMV is constantly picking through mechanic’s lien and storage lien applications to check for fraud. If you’ve submitted your application properly but it was still rejected by the DMV, don’t panic. This is a common tactic used by the DMV to scare off those who are attempting to use this process fraudulently. Simply resubmit your application and contact your local DMV if needed. If a mechanic’s lien is not done correctly, the DMV has the authority to revoke the title and could even bar a business from filing mechanic’s liens in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.