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Garagekeeper's Lien

Garagekeeper's Lien Defined

A garagekeeper's (also known as a mechanic's) lien may be requested when repairs are made to a motor vehicle at the owner's request, but no payment has been made to the garagekeeper after 30 days of completing the repairs. This allows the garagekeeper to recover their costs in repair of the vehicle by selling the vehicle to a third party, if necessary. (Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 66-19-103, 66-14-102 - 66-14-106)

Procedures for Obtaining a Garagekeeper's Lien:

  1. The applicant must submit a Vehicle Information Request (VIR) form completed in its entirety, including signatures of the authorized representative making the request.
  2. The garagekeeper making this request must include on the letterhead of the business an itemized list of all charges.
  3. The VIR contains a list of charges. (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-2-106)
    Complete the form and mail it with the applicable fees to:

    Tennessee Department of Revenue
    Vehicle Services Division
    44 Vantage Way, Suite, 160
    Nashville, TN 37243-8050

  4. Once the garagekeeper receives information from the Department of Revenue from the vehicle information form (VIR), the garagekeeper must send a notice to the vehicle owner of record, as well as any lienholders listed, and/or any other person who claims interest in this vehicle. The notice must be sent by certified registered mail, return receipt requested or, if delivered in person, a notarized affidavit naming the person who delivered the notice and specify the time, place and manner of giving such notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 55-16-112, 66-19-103, 66-14-102)
  5. The notice must include the complete description of the vehicle, an itemized statement of charges, and have a specified due date for payment to be received that is not less than ten days from the delivery of the notice. (Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 55-16-112, 66-19-103, 66-14-103)
  6. If the amount owed is not paid by the specified time in the notice, the vehicle may be advertised for sale at auction, at a specified time and place. The advertisement should be placed once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the vehicle was repaired. The sale shall not be held less than fifteen days from the time of first publication. (Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 55-16-112, 66-19-103, 66-14-104)
  7. If there is no newspaper published in the place where the sale is to be held, the advertisement shall be posted at least10 days before the sale in not less than six conspicuous places in public areas in the area where the vehicle is to be sold. (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 66-14-104)
  8. After the auction of the vehicle, the purchaser will make application with the county clerk for title and registration to the vehicle. The following documents are required: (Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 55-3-101, 55-4-101)
    • Revenue Form: Certificate of Sales Under Special Conditions
    • VIR form received from the Department of Revenue
    • Certified mail receipts
    • A copy of the newspaper sale advertisement for the vehicle, or a notarized affidavit attesting to the six conspicuous postings of the sale information in a public place, along with a copy of the actual posted advertisement
    • Itemized statement of storage and/or towing fees owed to the applicant
    • Odometer statement, if applicable.

References: Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 55-2-106; 55-16-105 - 55-16-107; 66-14-102 - 66-14-104; 66-19-103