buying & selling a vehicle

Iowa ELT

Why was the Iowa ELT program implemented?

Iowa Senate File 2273, which was approved on April 7, 2010, established a study committee regarding the implementation of electronic registration and titling of vehicles. This committee published the results of their findings on December 1, 2010, and recommended a phased approach to implementation of electronic transactions for titling and registration. Phase one consisted of facilitating electronic communication between the DOT and lenders for lien notations and releases. The Iowa ELT program is expected to result in faster notification of lien notations and releases, eliminate storage of paper titles, reduce fraud, reduce costs for mailing of paper titles, improve data accuracy, and reduce administrative burdens for all.

The Iowa ELT program is a method by which the Iowa DOT and lending institutions (lienholders) can exchange vehicle and title information electronically. The electronic exchange of information eliminates the need to print and mail paper titles. Once a lien has been released, the lienholder sends an electronic message releasing the lien on the title at which point the Iowa DOT releases the lien on its record. The title remains electronic unless a paper title has been requested by the lienholder or vehicle owner. This process eliminates much of the paper handling involved in the vehicle titling process.

What are the benefits of ELT?

Any ELT program allows lienholders to reduce the handling, storage and mailing costs associated with paper titles by replacing them with electronic titles. ELT participants also benefit in the following ways:

  • Lienholders will receive fast, electronic confirmation that the lien has been recorded.
  • Lienholders who participate in the ELT program will release liens electronically eliminating the need to hand-release liens on the paper title.
  • Faster notification of lien satisfactions.
  • If a paper title is desired, it can be printed and mailed with the lien intact or printed and mailed at the time of lien release.
  • Reduction in title fraud by elimination of the paper title that is subject to tampering, counterfeiting, or other manipulation.
  • Reduction in lost titles and the need to order duplicates.
  • Better protection for dealers against failed financing.
  • Reduction in the time needed to obtain release of a lien against a trade vehicle which helps to avoid delays that threaten timely completion of the sale and disposition of the trade vehicle.
  • Vehicle owners who have satisfied their loan obligations will receive paper titles faster, after the lienholder has electronically notified the Iowa DOT that the lien has been released.
  • Overall reduced costs.

Q & A For Lenders

How does a lender enroll in the Iowa ELT program?

Lenders must first establish a relationship with an approved service provider for transmission of all vehicle and title data. Once this relationship is established, each lender may enroll in the Iowa ELT program by submitting a completed Iowa “Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) Lender Application” form 411188, to the service provider who will then sign off and forward to the DOT’s Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services.

How long does it take to enroll in ELT?

The DOT’s Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services will approve/deny the lender application within five working days of receipt of the application. Notification of approval/denial will be made via email. If approved, the ELT Identifier will be included with the email.

What are the costs for enrollment?

There are no costs to enroll with the Iowa DOT.

How does a lienholder request an ELT lien?

Once enrollment is complete, all liens noted in the ELT lienholders name going forward will be ELT liens, provided that the assigned ELT Identifier is properly disclosed. The ELT Identifier must be disclosed on one of three forms used in Iowa: the Iowa Application for Notation of Security Interest, form 411046; the “Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration”, form 411007; or the “Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration for a Leased Vehicle” form 411179. Paper titles already held will only become electronic if requested by the lender via the service provider.

How long will it take to receive confirmation that an ELT lien has been noted?

Lien notations are processed by the various county treasurers’ offices in Iowa, so the time required to note a lien will depend on workload. Typical processing times are one week or less. Once the county treasurer’s office has performed a transaction in which a lien is noted, it will be communicated to the service provider by the next business day.

Once a lienholder is enrolled can they still receive paper titles?

By default, titles will be electronic once a lienholder is enrolled in the Iowa ELT program. However, the lienholder may electronically request that a paper title be printed and mailed via the service provider.

How long does it take to receive a paper title when requested?

Electronic requests to print titles are processed nightly and queued for printing by the county treasurer. The time required to print and mail a paper title will vary depending on the workload in each particular county. Typical processing times are one week or less.

What if a paper title is lost in the mail after release of the lien?

The owner to whom the documents were being sent may apply for reissuance without cost.

Can an ELT title be released outside of the ELT system?

Yes, but release of the lien would normally be accomplished electronically through the authorized service provider. Lien release outside of the ELT system would be accomplished using the “Cancellation of Security Interest” form #411168.

What does the lienholder do when an owner pays off a vehicle that is on an ELT title?

The lienholder will release the lien, electronically, according to the procedures provided by the service provider. The service provider will electronically notify the DOT of release of the lien.

What does the lienholder do when an insurance company, bank, or other third party pays off a vehicle that is on an ELT title?

The lienholder will release the lien, electronically, according to the procedures provided by the service provider. The service provider will electronically notify the DOT of release of the lien.

What does the lienholder do when it is necessary to repossess a vehicle?

In Iowa, the lien on a repossessed vehicle should not be released by the lienholder. If the title was an ELT title, the lienholder should request a paper title with the lien still noted. Conveyance of ownership of a repossessed vehicle is accomplished by attaching a completing “Affidavit of foreclosure Sale” form #411067 to the paper title.

Does the lienholder need to notify a borrower when a lien is released?

The lienholder may, but is not required to, notify the borrower of the lien release. The title will remain electronic, without the lien, until the owner requests a title from their county treasurer. This title will be provided at no cost.

For what vehicle types can an ELT title be issued?

The ELT process functions the same for all vehicles subject to issuance of an Iowa title for use upon the roads. This includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, motor homes, mobile homes, travel trailers, and trailers over 2,000lbs empty weight. Boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs are NOT subject to issuance of a title by DOT and are not eligible for ELT.

What information is maintained on an ELT title?

The ELT process maintains all of the same information on the DOT system as it does for paper titles. This includes the date of perfection and date of release of a lien. Loan amounts are not captured.

How often are ELT transactions processed?

Electronic transactions are processed nightly. Some transactions may require additional user interaction.

If there is an issue with an ELT title, who should be contacted?

This would depend on the nature of the problem. Normally, first contact would be made with the service provider to begin troubleshooting. If needed, the service provider will contact the DOT’s IT department to resolve the issue.

If a lienholder receives an ELT title in error, what should be done?

The lien can be released electronically through the standard process.

Q&A for dealers

Does a dealer need a paper title when a vehicle is traded in?

Yes, Iowa law will still require a paper title for titled vehicles.

When filing for a lien on behalf of an ELT lender how is an ELT title requested?

ELT lenders will be issued an “ELT Identifier.” This is an identification number that is unique to their branch office. This number must be used in place of the federal employer identification number (FEIN) on the “Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration” form 411007, the “Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration for a Leased Vehicle” form 411179, or the “Application for Notation of Security Interest” form 411046.

How long does it take to receive a paper title when requested?

Receipt of a paper title is dependent on the workload of the county issuing the title to process the request. Typical processing times are one week or less, but the Iowa ELT program should greatly reduce the amount of time required to obtain titles for trade-ins.

Participating ELT Lenders