What is a Lien Holder?
A lien holder may be a motor vehicle dealer, bank, credit union or acceptance corporation or any other licensed financial institution legally operating in this state or is another person who is not the owner and who holds a security interest in the vehicle. The lien holder must have been the lien holder on the MVD record at the time of the tow or impound in order to be granted a release. The lien must still be in force in order for the lien holder to qualify.
Required information and documentsThe Lien Holder or company representative must present the following information: In addition to the following items, all lien holders or their agents (tow truck drivers, etc.) must have a valid driver’s license in the state of domicile and their privilege to drive in Arizona must not be suspended:
- Proof that the person acting as the company representative is indeed an employee.This can be in the form of a business card or an authorizing letter on company letterhead. A private individual may simply present a driver’s license and or a combination of Id. that will suffice to ensure they are who they purport to be.
- A notarized Affidavit of Repossession from the Motor Vehicle Division
- A notarized “hold harmless” (See examples in sidebar navigation) letter which in affect states that the lien holder will hold the police department harmless from any civil actions as a result of the release of the vehicle.
a. The following information may be included in the “hold harmless” letter or as a separate notarized document
i. The debtor’s name
ii. The account number, or at a minimum, the last four numbers/letters of the loan or account number
iii. Vehicle description including the vehicle year, make, model, and the vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Power of Attorney
a. The “power of attorney” may be included in the “hold harmless” letter or as a separate notarized document
b. Valid until revoked by the grantor
c. Can be written by hand or typed - letterhead is not necessary.
d. Must be notarized
- In lieu of the affidavit from the Motor Vehicle Division or Power of Attorney, the lien holder may present a “Writ of Replevin” from any court. A “Writ of Replevin” is a court order to repossess property and must list the vehicle’s description including the identification number (VIN).
NOTE: Regardless of what paperwork the lien holder presents, any document longer than a single page, where the notary stamp/seal falls on the last page, shall reference the vehicle in question by VIN, license or account/loan number on each page.
In all circumstances, if the vehicle is being released early (prior to 30th day of the impound), the “hold harmless” letter must also contain a paragraph containing the following information:
"In accordance with the provisions of ARS §28-3511 and ARS §28-3512, (name of lien holder) agrees not to release the vehicle to the current registered owner of the vehicle if they were the driver at the time of the impoundment. We understand that if we do give this vehicle to this individual prior to the 30th day, we will face legal sanctions. We further understand that in accordance with the provisions of ARS §28-3512, the Tempe Police Department agrees to release the listed vehicle upon payment of all charges and fees with the understanding that if [in the future] the authorized party (lien holder) allows an unlicensed driver or a driver who is arrested for ARS §4-244 (Minor Consuming Alcohol), §28-1382 (Extreme DUI) or §28-1383 (Aggravated DUI) within one year from the signing of this Agreement, then the vehicle shall not be eligible for release from future impoundment before the end of a 30 day period."
Records Retention Requirements For Lien holders (New Law effective September 19, 2007)
Before a lien holder, as described above, releases the vehicle to the owner who was operating the vehicle at the time of removal and immobilization or impoundment, the lien holder shall require the owner to present and shall retain for a period of at least three years from the date of releasing the vehicle a copy of all of the following:
- A driver license issued by this state or the owner's or owner's agent's state of domicile.
- A current vehicle registration or a valid salvage or dismantle certificate of title.
- Evidence that the vehicle is in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of chapter 9, article 4 of this title.
- The lien holder may require the owner to pay charges that the person incurred in connection with obtaining custody of the vehicle, including all immobilization, towing and storage charges that are related to the immobilization or impoundment of the vehicle and any administrative charges that are established pursuant to section 28-3513
A recovery agent will be required to present:
A valid driver’s license with photo AND
All of the items from the LIEN HOLDER section above and a hold harmless letter on their letterhead. (See example in the sidebar navigation)
For all releases:
An appointment is needed. Appointments are available on:
Monday: 1:00pm - 3pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 9:00am - 11:00am and 1:00 - 3:00pm
Fridays 9:00am - 11:00am
We are closed on all Federal holidays
Please bring your documents in a packet form. We are not able to make copies for you.