A Garagekeeper’s Lien (aka mechanic's lien) is a process whereby a garagekeeper obtains permission to sell a vehicle it has repaired and/or stored, where the owner has authorized repairs, but not claimed the vehicle or failed to pay the fees associated with the repair or storage. The customer is given thirty (30) days after the completion of the repair(s) to pay the bill. If the bill has not been paid, the garage keeper is allowed to recover their costs to repair the vehicle by selling the vehicle to a third party, if necessary.
This process is completed by Vehicle Services Division
WHAT THE COUNTY CLERK NEEDS TO KNOW:
- The garagekeeper shall complete and submit a Vehicle Information Request (VIR) form to the state and include an itemized list of charges, on business’ letterhead to receive owner and/or lienholder information.
- The VIR and the list of charges may be mailed with the appropriate fee to Department of Revenue, Vehicle Services Division, 500 Deaderick St, Nashville, TN 37242.
- Upon receiving owner and lienholder information from the department, the garagekeeper must notify all interested parties (registered owner(s), all lienholders or the lessor), either by registered mail, return receipt requested, or in person, which requires a notarized affidavit naming the person who delivered the notice and specify the time, place and manner of giving such notice. USPS electronic signature forms may be accepted.
- The notice must include the complete description of the vehicle, an itemized statement of charges, and must provide interested parties with ten days following the delivery of the notice to pay the fees and claim the vehicle.
- If no response is received after ten (10) days, the garagekeeper is allowed to sell the vehicle at auction. The auction may be advertised once in a newspaper in the area where the vehicle was repaired. The sale shall not be held until fifteen (15) days from the date of first publication.
- If an ad is not placed in an area newspaper, a notice shall be posted in no less than six (6) conspicuous places, at least ten (10) days before the sale. Upon being sold at auction, Tennessee residents shall make application for title and registration with their local county clerk. The following documents are required to support a garagekeeper’s lien:
- Completed Form: Certificate of Sales Under Special Conditions
- Vehicle Information Request form received from the Department of Revenue
- Certified mail receipts
- A copy of the newspaper ad or public notice announcing the auction.
- Itemized statement of storage and/or towing fees owed to the applicant
- For mechanics, a signed order of repair.
- Odometer Disclosure Statement, if applicable.