How to Get a Lien Release for Vehicle Title in Maryland

by Scott Krohn
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A lien will be placed on a vehicle title to protect the interest of a creditor. In most cases, the lienholder will be the bank that provided the financing to purchase the vehicle. Liens also can be placed on vehicle titles by repair shops and storage yards for non-payment of invoiced services. In Maryland, the process of releasing loan-related liens is similar to the rest of the country, but the state has its own requirements for the removal of mechanic’s liens.

Releasing a Lender’s Lien with a Paper Title

Maryland’s rules state that when a loan has been confirmed as being paid in full, a lender holding a paper title as the lienholder must send a document that releases the lien, along with the signed certificate of title to the owner. The document can be either the Maryland Notice of Security Interest Filing or a declaration of the satisfaction of the loan written on the lender’s letterhead. To remove the lienholder and receive a clean title, the release document and the signed title can be taken or mailed to a Motor Vehicle Administration office.

Releasing a Lien on an Electronic Title

Maryland’s MVA participates in the Electronic Lien and Title System, which is a paperless title tracking and information service. After the final loan payment is received, lenders that have enrolled in the ELT System can send a digital notification to the MVA that the lien can be released and the lienholder taken off the title. The MVA will mail the clean title to the vehicle owner. With both paper and electronic titles, the vehicle owner should confirm that the lienholder and MVA have his correct mailing address on file.

Mechanic’s Liens

A mechanic’s lien can be issued if the vehicle owner does not pay for repairs or for storage for at least 30 days. For a lien to be accepted, a repair shop must have an invoice that details the work performed that was approved by the vehicle owner or the person who delivered the vehicle. A storage facility must have a contract signed by the vehicle owner or the person responsible for bringing the vehicle to the yard. Storage-related liens commonly are placed on vehicles that have been towed and impounded.

Releasing a Mechanic’s Lien

A vehicle owner who intends to pay a mechanic’s lien should act as quickly as possible to avoid having the car sold at auction to repay the debt. To release the lien, you’ll need to repay the amount listed on the original invoice or contract, as well as any admissible charges that have accrued since then. When the full balance is paid, the creditor must record an order of satisfaction with the county clerk, who provides notifications that the lien has been vacated. Once notified, the MVA will remove the lienholder from the title.

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