Get a title if the lienholder is out of business

What is a lienholder?

If you have a loan (or lien) on your vehicle or boat, the person or company in charge of the loan is the lienholder. They’re listed as the legal owner on the vehicle or boat record (title and registration).

How to remove a lienholder from a vehicle or boat record

When you pay the loan in full, the lienholders usually send us everything we need to remove their name from your vehicle or boat record. If they don’t, you can remove the lienholder by visiting a vehicle licensing office and providing:

  • A completed Release of Interest form, with the notarized signature of the lienholder.
  • or
  • The current Washington title with a releasing signature from the lienholder.

If the lienholder is out of business

If the company that held the loan on your vehicle or boat is out of business, and you can’t find out who took over their business, you may use one of the following options to remove the lienholder from the vehicle or boat record:

Option 1

Petition a Washington State Superior Court or District Court to direct us to remove the lienholder and issue you a clear title.

  • You’ll need to show the court proof you’ve paid the lienholder in full.
  • The court order will need to identify your vehicle by the year, make, model, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Option 2

  1. Get a copy of your credit report showing the lienholder with a zero balance.
  2. Take your credit report to a vehicle licensing office to have the lienholder removed. (The staff at the licensing office will have to get approval before removing the name).

Option 3

Visit a vehicle licensing office and provide:

  • A copy of the purchase agreement listing the purchase price.
  • and
  • Canceled checks or receipts that equal the total amount of the original purchase price.

(The staff at the licensing office will have to get approval before removing the name).

Option 4

If the lienholder is a Washington vehicle or vessel dealer, you may file a complaint with us.

If you have foreign ownership documents

If your vehicle or vessel is legally owned by a lienholder from outside Washington, you must resolve the issue in that state or country before applying for a Washington Certificate of Title.

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