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Expertise

Garage keeper's Lien

In New York, garage keepers can place a lien on a vehicle when the vehicle’s owner does not pay their bill. The garage keeper’s lien can be filed for unpaid bills for towing, storage, maintenance, repairs, or providing supplies and gas. The garage keeper’s lien gives the garage keeper a right to prevent the vehicle’s owner from taking their vehicle back or selling it. The lien allows the garage keeper to keep the vehicle until the owner pays the lien. If the owner does not pay the garage keeper can sell the vehicle after serving notice. It is important that garage keepers follow the proper procedure. If the garage keeper sells the vehicle before the lien is properly executed, they can be sued for the intentional tort of conversion. That is why it is important to retain the experienced and precise New York lien lawyers at Tilem & Associates PC to prepare and file your liens. A simple mistake can render a garage keeper’s lien useless. Use Tilem & Associates PC’s trusted lawyers to properly prepare and serve your liens.

IF VEHICLE OWNERS ARE NOT PAYING THEIR REPAIR BILLS CALL THE NEW YORK LIEN LAWYERS AT TILEM & ASSOCIATES TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION. 877-377-8666

To be entitled to a garage keeper’s lien, a garage owner must show the court that:

  • 1) that the garage is registered with the DMV as a repair shop as required by law,
  • 2) the garage keeper lawfully took possession of the motor vehicle to eventually return it to the owner,
  • 3) the garage keeper performed repairs or storage with the vehicle owner's consent,
  • 4) the parties agreed on a price or, if there was no agreement on the price, the charges are reasonable

To prove that a garage keeper is registered with the DMV as required by law, the garage keeper must show evidence of actual registration. Things like business cards are not enough. The actual DMV number plate showing that a shop is registered or certified records from the DMV should be provided.

Repairs and storage without the vehicle owner’s consent do not give the right to a garage keeper to enforce a lien. Estimates for repairs cannot form the basis for a lien. Without a specific agreement about storage prices, garage keepers cannot recover damages either. Garage keepers also cannot recover for repairs made without the vehicle owner’s express instructions. Just because the garage keeper can show the owner knew about the repair and storage does not entitle the garage keeper to a lien. Courts require the owner’s agreement as to a price and authorization of the repair. The garage keeper must arrive at the amount demanded in the lien carefully. If the lien demands more than the contract price, the lien is void as a matter of law.

The garage keeper must follow the proper procedure to enforce the lien. No court order is required for foreclosure and sale. The first step in executing the garage keeper’s lien is serving notice to the owner and anyone holding a security interest in the vehicle. The notice must contain the following:

  • 1) a statement explaining the debt or the agreement that the owner failed to pay
  • 2) an itemized statement showing the claim and when payment was due
  • 3) a description of the vehicle
  • 4) an estimated value of the vehicle
  • 5) the amount of the lien
  • 6) the date of the notice
  • 7) a demand that the owner pay the lien 10 days from the state they were served
  • 8) the time and place when the vehicle will be sold if the amount is not paid

After receiving notice, the vehicle owner may bring a special proceeding in court to fight the lien. The court may cancel or reduce the amount of the lien based on evidence shown by the vehicle owner. The court may also issue a judicial stay on the sale. If the vehicle is sold pursuant to a lien, the garage keeper must pay the vehicle owner the difference between the bill for services and storage and the sale price. If there is a dispute as to the price of the services the vehicle owner can sue the garage keeper for replevin or pay the lien and sue under a breach of contract theory.

Garage keeper’s liens are not a small matter. Bills from vehicle owners who abandon their vehicles can turn into huge losses for garages. It is important that garage keepers enforce their rights to payment for services rendered in a timely manner. Garage keeper’s liens are complex and can involve significant amounts of time and money. On the other hand, if a false lien is filed against your vehicle our careful and precise New York Lien attorneys will fight to cancel the lien and get your vehicle back. The experienced New York lien lawyers at Tilem & Associates will aggressively file or defend against garage keeper’s liens. Call now.

IF YOU NEED TO FIGHT AGAINST A GARAGE KEEPER’S LIEN CALL THE NEW YORK LIEN LAWYERS AT TILEM & ASSOCIATES, PC RIGHT NOW. OUR AGGRESSIVE LAWYERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE CONSULTATIONS. CALL TODAY. 877-377-8666

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