• Parking Ticket Seizures: What Lienholders Need to Know
    Many cities and towns use license plate reader technology to scan for “scofflaws.” Scofflaws generally are people who have two or more unpaid parking tickets. When a license plate registered to a scofflaw is found, the typical practice is to boot the vehicle, and then tow it away to an impound yard. By the time … Read more
  • Vehicle Abandonment Traps
    A vehicle abandonment trap is a technique used by local government agencies to convince a lienholder/lessor to give up its rights to a vehicle.  The most common trap occurs when the government agency sends a letter which states that, unless the vehicle is claimed within a certain number of days (ten days is typical), the … Read more
  • No Tow Yard Storage Fee Lien For A Private Lot Tow
    Tow yards can assert a storage fee lien only where the towing is requested by the vehicle owner or police. No lien is allowed where the towing is requested by a private lot, store, or apartment complex. Nevertheless, tow yards often claim a lien anyway hoping that lienholder/lessors are fooled into paying their charges.  In … Read more
  • Can an Automotive Lienholder Lose a Lien in New York?
    Lienholders cannot lose their liens in New York, but there is a lot of misinformation that confuses this simple topic. Let’s clear it up. Usually, this problem comes up when the lienholder discovers that someone has obtained a new title and the lienholder’s name and address is no longer showing on the title. This prompts … Read more
  • Can a New York Garage Lien Sale Wipe Out a Perfected Lien?
    When a lienholder has perfected its lien in a vehicle, the perfected lien is protected against loss to later claims made against the vehicle. Garage lien claims present a quirky problem because garage lien sales are done by self-help. Self-help means that the garage places the vehicle for sale on its own say-so with no … Read more
  • Appeals Court Rejects Tow Yard Front-loaded Storage Fees
    Tow yards in New York cannot charge storage fees after towing a vehicle for police unless they follow the strict set of rules in New York Lien Law 184. Tow yard overcharging is a persistent problem because tow yards see no downside to pushing the envelope, hoping that lienholder/lessors are unaware of the legal limits … Read more
  • Leasing companies can save a lot of money by contesting this common garage lien swindle
    In New York, leasing companies cannot be made to pay garage lien charges unless they specifically agree to do so. Nevertheless, garages frequently assert liens against leased vehicles hoping that the leasing company is unaware of the law and will just capitulate to the garage’s demand. Leasing companies that identify this swindle can block it, … Read more
  • Federal Court Puts the Brakes on Gouging for Parking Tickets
    For many years, the City of Yonkers deployed a strategy designed to make lease/lienholders pay for the costs of its attempt to collect unpaid parking tickets. Yonkers would boot a vehicle and then call in a private towing company to haul away and hold the vehicle hostage. Yonkers would then send the lease/lienholder a letter … Read more
  • Lienholders no longer have to pay for parking tickets in Nassau County
    For many years, Nassau County has seized cars as a way to make drivers clear up old parking tickets. If the tickets were not paid, the County  would dispose of the vehicle. If a lienholder or lessor wished to recover a seized vehicle, Nassau County required payment of not just the tickets on the seized car, … Read more
  • Recovering vehicles from the NYPD
    The NYC police department (NYPD) seizes more vehicles than any other agency in the country. The NYPD has been sued many times over the years and it has used the lessons learned from those lawsuits to refine its seizure and impound practices to the point where the NYPD has very specific and orderly procedures for … Read more
  • Six most important changes in garage lien laws in 2021
    2021 brought many changes in garage impounds Here are the six most important developments that benefit lien/leaseholders… Elimination of abusive storage fee tacticsThe worst abuse, the secret lien for storage, has met its demise.  For years garages contended that they had no obligation to send notice of accruing storage fees to lienholders/lessors. Garages would pile up … Read more
  • Auto finance alert: NJ garages
    Are you losing money to garage keeper liens in New Jersey? (You should not be) The law in New Jersey is that lien rights in vehicles are determined on a first in time basis. This means that a garage keeper lien will be valid against an auto finance lien only if the garage keeper lien … Read more
  • A must read for leasing companies
    Important new case means better protection for you Does the idea that someone could transfer your car to someone else without your consent seem wrong. For years, that is exactly what lessees have been doing to secure payment for garage repairs; they allow the garage to put a lien on the vehicle, without the knowledge … Read more
  • Repossession Risks
    Interlocks and impounds: understanding the risks Suppose a finance or lease customer calls and advises you that his car has been impounded by police in New York as the result of a charge of Driving While Under the Influence (DUI). The customer states that he can get the car back if you allow him to … Read more
  • Beware of fraud resulting from lien release law
    NY’s new dealer lien release law exposes lienholders to title fraud On June 17, 2013, NY Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 2121(b) goes into effect. This new law will enable dealers to release vehicle liens without lienholder consent. The law is intended to enable dealers to quickly resell vehicles that come in on trade. (The … Read more
  • Two Tricky Repo Issues
    Does NY law prohibit repossession on weekends? New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (V&T) 425 requires that the repossessing creditor send a notice of repossession to the DMV and the vehicle owner within 24 hours of repossession. DMV offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The most conservative creditor could resolve the problem by not … Read more
  • Combating Title Washing, Understanding the BFP Defense
    Title washing means the removal of a lien by fraud. Often, by the time the fraud is discovered, the car has been resold to a buyer who claims to be a “BFP”. BFP means bonafide purchaser. A buyer can only be a BFP if he had no knowledge that the lien was removed by fraud. … Read more
  • Warning: Do not obtain “Repo Titles” on vehicles that are impounded
    Several reliable sources indicate that The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) may be beginning an investigation of lienholders who are applying for “repo” titles in situations where the lienholder does not actually possess the vehicle. The DMV is focused on lienholders who have been using “repo” titles in order to recover vehicles … Read more
  • Lienholders and NYC parking tickets
    New York City has a parking enforcement unit that authorizes the Sheriff or City Marshal to seize vehicles for unpaid parking tickets. The unpaid parking tickets are treated as a money judgment against the vehicle owner. Under Article 52 of the CPLR, the City is entitled to enforce the judgment by selling the vehicle. Following … Read more
About Me

Rudolph J. Meola, Attorney/Principal

Rudy is a graduate of Albany Law School and he was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1992. He earned a B.A. in History from Hamilton College.

Rudy is a frequent lecturer on automotive finance related topics including combating title fraud, stopping garage lien abuses and creditor strategies for efficient vehicle recovery. 

Rudy enjoys saber fencing, weightlifting, and creative writing.

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