The California Department of Motor Vehicle form REG 227 (Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title) serves two purposes. It may be used to request a duplicate vehicle title if the original has been lost, stolen or mutilated and it may also be used to transfer vehicle ownership when the title isn't available.
Often people mistakenly believe REG 227 needs to be notarized before it is processed by the DMV. While it is true that the REG 227 has a notarization certificate at the bottom of the first page, it isn’t meant for most requests. It applies specifically to Section 5 which states: LEGAL OWNER OF RECORD RELEASE OF OWNERSHIP AND/OR INTEREST—Must be notarized.
Section 5 pertains to Lien-holders (Banks and Finance companies), not private sellers. When a vehicle has been financed, the lien-holder has financial interest in the vehicle until the debt has been satisfied. When the loan has been paid off, Section 5 allows the lien-holder to release interest and when that release is entered, it needs to be notarized.