How heavy can you ‘lien’ on someone

legal updates

Vehicle repairers have a very useful tool in their armory which can allow them, in certain circumstances to withhold the release of a vehicle if payment for the repair is not made.

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Vehicle repairers have a very useful tool in their armory which can allow them, in certain circumstances to withhold the release of a vehicle if payment for the repair is not made.  This in legal jargon is called ‘exercising a lien’.

There are however, limitations.

a)    The vehicle must have been improved or repaired.  A simple diagnosis wouldn’t qualify but to charge a battery would.  Storage charges would not qualify.

b)    There must have been continuity of possession.  If a vehicle is released and then returns for more work, a new lien from the previous work cannot be imposed.

Normally there is not a problem establishing the person who left the vehicle for repair has authority to create the lien. However, some complications can arise when a vehicle is owned by, say, a finance company. The finance company may attempt to exclude the creation of a lien by an express term in the agreement.  However, there have been cases where, it is in the control of the driver under the finance agreement to have repairs carried out but any express clause prohibiting a lien is not brought to the attention of the repairer then the finance company cannot rely on that clause stopping the repairer creating a lien.


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Related Legal Updates

When a consumer doesn’t have the money to pay for a repair/work undertaken to a vehicle

In certain circumstances the garage can withhold the release of the vehicle.

1066 – A good year for motor traders!

An unpaid mechanic/garage may have the right to keep a customer’s vehicle until payment is made for the cost of any repairs and servicing.

How far can you lien?

A lien only applies to charges due in relation to improvement or repairs. It does not apply if goods are just maintained in working condition.

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