Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:7-209. Lien of warehouse.

(a) A warehouse has a lien against the bailor on the goods covered by a warehouse receipt or storage agreement or on the proceeds thereof in its possession for charges for storage or transportation, including demurrage and terminal charges, insurance, labor, or other charges, present or future, in relation to the goods, and for expenses necessary for preservation of the goods or reasonably incurred in their sale pursuant to law. If the person on whose account the goods are held is liable for similar charges or expenses in relation to other goods whenever deposited and it is stated in the warehouse receipt or storage agreement that a lien is claimed for charges and expenses in relation to other goods, the warehouse also has a lien against the goods covered by the warehouse receipt or storage agreement or on the proceeds thereof in its possession for those charges and expenses, whether or not the other goods have been delivered by the warehouse. However, as against a person to which a negotiable warehouse receipt is duly negotiated, a warehouse’s lien is limited to charges in an amount or at a rate specified in the warehouse receipt or, if no charges are so specified, to a reasonable charge for storage of the specific goods covered by the receipt subsequent to the date of the receipt.

(b) A warehouse may also reserve a security interest against the bailor for the maximum amount specified on the receipt for charges other than those specified in subsection (a) of this section, such as for money advanced and interest. The security interest is governed by Article 9.

(c) A warehouse’s lien for charges and expenses under subsection (a) of this section or a security interest under subsection (b) of this section is also effective against any person that so entrusted the bailor with possession of the goods that a pledge of them by the bailor to a good-faith purchaser for value would have been valid. However, the lien or security interest is not effective against a person that before issuance of a document of title had a legal interest or a perfected security interest in the goods and did not:

(1) Deliver or entrust the goods or any document of title covering the goods to the bailor or the bailor’s nominee with:

(A) Actual or apparent authority to ship, store, or sell;

(B) Power to obtain delivery under § 28:7-403; or

(C) Power of disposition under § 28:2-403, 28:2A-304, 28:2A-305 28:9-320, or 28:9-321(c) or other statute or rule of law; or

(2) Acquiesce in the procurement by the bailor or its nominee of any document.

(d) A warehouse’s lien on household goods for charges and expenses in relation to the goods under subsection (a) of this section is also effective against all persons if the depositor was the legal possessor of the goods at the time of deposit. In this subsection, the term “household goods” means furniture, furnishings, or personal effects used by the depositor in a dwelling.

(e) A warehouse loses its lien on any goods that it voluntarily delivers or unjustifiably refuses to deliver.


(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 722, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Mar. 16, 1982, D.C. Law 4-85, § 8, 29 DCR 309; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-299, § 9, 60 DCR 2634.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:7-209.

1973 Ed., § 28:7-209.

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Sections 27 through 32, Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act.

Changes: Rewritten.

Purposes of Changes: 1. Subsection (1) defines the warehouseman’s statutory lien. A specific lien attaches automatically, without express notation on the receipt, to goods stored under a non-negotiable receipt. That lien is limited to the usual charges arising out of a storage transaction; by notation on the receipt it can be made a general lien extending to like charges in relation to other goods. The same rules apply where the receipt is negotiable, except that as against a holder by due negotiation the lien is limited to the amount or rate specified on the receipt, or, if none is specified, to a reasonable charge for storage of the specific goods after the date of the receipt.

2. Subsection (2) provides for a security interest based upon agreement. Such a security interest arises out of relations between the parties other than bailment for storage or transportation, as where the bailee assumes the role of financer or performs a manufacturing operation, extending credit in reliance upon the goods covered by the receipt. Such a security interest is not a statutory lien. Compare Sections 9-102(2) and 9-310. It is governed in all respects by Article 9, except that subsection (2) requires that the receipt specify a maximum amount and limits the security interest to the amount specified.

3. Subsections (1) and (2) validate the lien and security interest “against the bailor.” As against third parties, subsection (3)(a) continues the rule under the prior uniform statutory provision that to validate the lien the owner must have entrusted the goods to the depositor, and that the circumstances must be such that a pledge by the depositor to a good faith purchaser for value would have been valid. Thus the owner’s interest will not be subjected to a lien or security interest arising out of a deposit of his goods by a thief. The warehouseman may be protected because of the actual, implied or apparent authority of the depositor, because of a Factor’s Act, or because of other circumstances which would protect a bona fide pledgee, unless those circumstances are denied effect under Section 7-503. Where the third party is the holder of a security interest, the rights of the warehouseman depend on the priority given to a hypothetical bona fide pledgee by Article 9, particularly Section 9-312. Thus the special priority granted to statutory liens by Section 9-310 does not apply to liens under subsection (1) of this section, since subsection (3) “expressly provides otherwise” within the meaning of Section 9-310. As to household goods, however, subsection (3)(b) makes the warehouseman’s lien “for charges and expenses in relation to the goods” effective against all persons if the depositor was the legal possessor. The purpose of the exception is to permit the warehouseman to accept household goods for storage in sole reliance on the value of the goods themselves, especially in situations of family emergency. [This paragraph was amended in 1966].

4. It is unnecessary to state here, as in Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act 31, that a bailee with a valid lien need not deliver until the lien is satisfied. Section 7-403 provides that a person demanding delivery under a document must be prepared to satisfy the bailee’s lien.

5. Where goods have been stored under a non-negotiable warehouse receipt and are sold by the person to whom the receipt has been issued, frequently the goods are not withdrawn by the new owner. The obligations of the seller of the goods in this situation are set forth in Section 2-503(4) on tender of delivery and include procurement of an acknowledgment by the bailee of the buyer’s right to possession of the goods. If a new receipt is requested, such an acknowledgment can be withheld until storage charges have been paid or provided for. The statutory lien for charges on the goods sold, granted by the first sentence of subsection (1), continues valid unless the bailee gives it up. But once a new receipt is issued to the buyer, the buyer becomes “the person on whose account the goods are held“ under the second sentence of subsection (1); unless he undertakes liability for charges in relation to other goods stored by the seller, there is no general lien against the buyer for such charges. Of course, the bailee may preserve the general lien in such a case either by an arrangement by which the buyer “is liable for” such charges, or by reserving a security interest under subsection (2).

Cross References: Point 2: Sections 9-102(2) and 9-310.

Point 3: Sections 7-503, 9-310 and 9-312.

Point 4: Section 7-403.

Point 5: Section 2-503.

Definitional Cross References: “Deliver”. Section 1-201.

“Document”. Section 7-102.

“Goods”. Section 7-102.

“Money”. Section 1-201.

“Person”. Section 1-201.

“Purchaser”. Section 1-201.

“Right”. Section 1-201.

“Security interest”. Section 1-201.

“Value”. Section 1-201.

“Warehouse receipt”. Section 1-201.

“Warehouseman”. Section 7-102.

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Former Sections 7-209 and 7-503.

Changes: Expanded to recognize warehouse lien when a warehouse receipt is not issued but goods are covered by a storage agreement.

Purposes: 1. Subsection (a) defines the warehouse’s statutory lien. Other than allowing a warehouse to claim a lien under this section when there is a storage agreement and not a warehouse receipt, this section remains unchanged in substance from former Section 7-209(1). Under the first sentence, a specific lien attaches automatically without express notation on the receipt or storage agreement with regard to goods stored under the receipt or the storage agreement. That lien is limited to the usual charges arising out of a storage transaction.

Example 1: Bailor stored goods with a warehouse and the warehouse issued a warehouse receipt. A lien against those goods arose as set forth in subsection (a), the first sentence, for the charges for storage and the other expenses of those goods. The warehouse may enforce its lien under Section 7-210 as against the bailor. Whether the warehouse receipt is negotiable or nonnegotiable is not important to the warehouse’s rights as against the bailor.

Under the second sentence, by notation on the receipt or storage agreement, the lien can be made a general lien extending to like charges in relation to other goods. Both the specific lien and general lien are as to goods in the possession of the warehouse and extend to proceeds from the goods as long as the proceeds are in the possession of the warehouse. The same rules apply whether the receipt is negotiable or non-negotiable.

Example 2: Bailor stored goods (lot A) with a warehouse and the warehouse issued a warehouse receipt for those goods. In the warehouse receipt it is stated that the warehouse will also have a lien on goods covered by the warehouse receipt for storage charges and the other expenses for any other goods that are stored with the warehouse by the bailor. The statement about the lien on other goods does not specify an amount or a rate. Bailor then stored other goods (lot B) with the warehouse. Under subsection (a), first sentence, the warehouse has a lien on the specific goods (lot A) covered by the warehouse receipt. Under subsection (a), second sentence, the warehouse has a lien on the goods in lot A for the storage charges and the other expenses arising from the goods in lot B. That lien is enforceable as against the bailor regardless of whether the receipt is negotiable or nonnegotiable.

Under the third sentence, if the warehouse receipt is negotiable, the lien as against a holder of that receipt by due negotiation is limited to the amount or rate specified on the receipt for the specific lien or the general lien, or, if none is specified, to a reasonable charge for storage of the specific goods covered by the receipt for storage after the date of the receipt.

Example 3: Same facts as Example 1 except that the warehouse receipt is negotiable and has been duly negotiated ( Section 7-501) to a person other than the bailor. Under the last sentence of subsection (a), the warehouse may enforce its lien against the bailor’s goods stored in the warehouse as against the person to whom the negotiable warehouse receipt has been duly negotiated. Section 7-502. That lien is limited to the charges or rates specified in the receipt or a reasonable charge for storage as stated in the last sentence of subsection (a).

Example 4: Same facts as Example 2 except that the warehouse receipt is negotiable and has been duly negotiated ( Section 7-501) to a person other than the bailor. Under the last sentence of subsection (a), the lien on lot A goods for the storage charges and the other expenses arising from storage of lot B goods is not enforceable as against the person to whom the receipt has been duly negotiated. Without a statement of a specified amount or rate for the general lien, the warehouse’s general lien is not enforceable as against the person to whom the negotiable document has been duly negotiated. However, the warehouse lien for charges and expenses related to storage of lot A goods is still enforceable as against the person to whom the receipt was duly negotiated.

Example 5. Same facts as Examples 2 and 4 except the warehouse had stated on the negotiable warehouse receipt a specified amount or rate for the general lien on other goods (lot B). Under the last sentence of subsection (a), the general lien on lot A goods for the storage charges and the other expenses arising from storage of lot B goods is enforceable as against the person to whom the receipt has been duly negotiated.

2. Subsection (b) provides for a security interest based upon agreement. Such a security interest arises out of relations between the parties other than bailment for storage or transportation, as where the bailee assumes the role of financier or performs a manufacturing operation, extending credit in reliance upon the goods covered by the receipt. Such a security interest is not a statutory lien. Compare Sections 9-109 and 9-333. It is governed in all respects by Article 9, except that subsection (b) requires that the receipt specify a maximum amount and limits the security interest to the amount specified. A warehouse could also take a security interest to secure its charges for storage and the other expenses listed in subsection (a) to protect these claims upon the loss of the statutory possessory warehouse lien if the warehouse loses possession of the goods as provided in subsection (e).

Example 6: Bailor stores goods with a warehouse and the warehouse issues a warehouse receipt that states that the warehouse is taking a security interest in the bailed goods for charges of storage, expenses, for money advanced, for manufacturing services rendered, and all other obligations that the bailor may owe the warehouse. That is a security interest covered in all respects by Article 9. Subsection (b). As allowed by this section, a warehouse may rely upon its statutory possessory lien to protect its charges for storage and the other expenses related to storage. For those storage charges covered by the statutory possessory lien, the warehouse is not required to use a security interest under subsection (b).

3. Subsections (a) and (b) validate the lien and security interest “against the bailor.” Under basic principles of derivative rights as provided in Section 7-504, the warehouse lien is also valid as against parties who obtain their rights from the bailor except as otherwise provided in subsection (a), third sentence, or subsection (c).

Example 7: Bailor stores goods with a warehouse and the warehouse issues a nonnegotiable warehouse receipt that also claims a general lien in other goods stored with the warehouse. A lien on the bailed goods for the charges for storage and the other expenses arises under subsection (a). Bailor notifies the warehouse that the goods have been sold to Buyer and the bailee acknowledges that fact to the Buyer. Section 2-503. The warehouse lien for storage of those goods is effective against Buyer for both the specific lien and the general lien. Section 7-504.

Example 8: Bailor stores goods with a warehouse and the warehouse issues a nonnegotiable warehouse receipt. A lien on the bailed goods for the charges for storage and the other expenses arises under subsection (a). Bailor grants a security interest in the goods while the goods are in the warehouse’s possession to Secured Party (SP) who properly perfects a security interest in the goods. See Revised 9-312(d). The warehouse lien is superior in priority over SP’s security interest. See Revised 9-203(b)(2) (debtor can grant a security interest to the extent of debtor’s rights in the collateral).

Example 9: Bailor stores goods with a warehouse and the warehouse issues a negotiable warehouse receipt. A lien on the bailed goods for the charges for storage and the other expenses arises under subsection (a). Bailor grants a security interest in the negotiable document to SP. SP properly perfects its interest in the negotiable document by taking possession through a ‘due negotiation.’ Revised 9-312(c). SP’s security interest is subordinate to the warehouse lien. Section 7-209(a), third sentence. Given that bailor’s rights are subject to the warehouse lien, the bailor cannot grant to the SP greater rights than the bailor has under Section 9-203(b)(2), perfection of the security interest in the negotiable document and the goods covered by the document through SP’s filing of a financing statement should not give a different result.

As against third parties who have interests in the goods prior to the storage with the warehouse, subsection (c) continues the rule under the prior uniform statutory provision that to validate the lien or security interest of the warehouse, the owner must have entrusted the goods to the depositor, and that the circumstances must be such that a pledge by the depositor to a good faith purchaser for value would have been valid. Thus the owner’s interest will not be subjected to a lien or security interest arising out of a deposit of its goods by a thief. The warehouse may be protected because of the actual, implied or apparent authority of the depositor, because of a Factor’s Act, or because of other circumstances which would protect a bona fide pledgee, unless those circumstances are denied effect under the second sentence of subsection (c). The language of Section 7-503 is brought into subsection (c) for purposes of clarity. The comments to Section 7-503 are helpful in interpreting delivery, entrustment or acquiescence.

Where the third party is the holder of a security interest, obtained prior to the issuance of a negotiable warehouse receipt, the rights of the warehouse depend on the priority given to a hypothetical bona fide pledgee by Article 9, particularly Section 9-322. Thus the special priority granted to statutory liens by Section 9-333 does not apply to liens under subsection (a) of this section, since subsection (c), second sentence, “expressly provides otherwise” within the meaning of Section 9-333.

As to household goods, however, subsection (d) makes the warehouse’s lien “for charges and expenses in relation to the goods” effective against all persons if the depositor was the legal possessor. The purpose of the exception is to permit the warehouse to accept household goods for storage in sole reliance on the value of the goods themselves, especially in situations of family emergency.

Example 10: Bailor grants a perfected security interest in the goods to SP prior to storage of the goods with the warehouse. Bailor then stores goods with the warehouse and the warehouse issues a warehouse receipt for the goods. A warehouse lien on the bailed goods for the charges for storage or other expenses arises under subsection (a). The warehouse lien is not effective as against SP unless SP entrusted the goods to the bailor with actual or apparent authority to ship store, or sell the goods or with power of disposition under subsection (c)(1) or acquiesced in the bailor’s procurement of a document of title under subsection (c)(2). This result obtains whether the receipt is negotiable or nonnegotiable.

Example 11: Sheriff who had lawfully repossessed household goods in an eviction action stored the goods with a warehouse. A lien on the bailed goods arises under subsection (a). The lien is effective as against the owner of the goods. Subsection (d).

4. As under previous law, this section creates a statutory possessory lien in favor of the warehouse on the goods stored with the warehouse or on the proceeds of the goods. The warehouse loses its lien if it loses possession of the goods or the proceeds. Subsection (e).

5. Where goods have been stored under a non-negotiable warehouse receipt and are sold by the person to whom the receipt has been issued, frequently the goods are not withdrawn by the new owner. The obligations of the seller of the goods in this situation are set forth in Section 2-503(4) on tender of delivery and include procurement of an acknowledgment by the bailee of the buyer’s right to possession of the goods. If a new receipt is requested, such an acknowledgment can be withheld until storage charges have been paid or provided for. The statutory lien for charges on the goods sold, granted by the first sentence of subsection (a), continues valid unless the bailee gives it up. See Section 7-403. But once a new receipt is issued to the buyer, the buyer becomes “the person on whose account the goods are held” under the second sentence of subsection (a); unless the buyer undertakes liability for charges in relation to other goods stored by the seller, there is no general lien against the buyer for such charges. Of course, the bailee may preserve the general lien in such a case either by an arrangement by which the buyer “is liable for” such charges, or by reserving a security interest under subsection (b).

6. A possessory warehouse lien arises as provided under subsection (a) if the parties to the bailment have a storage agreement or a warehouse receipt is issued. In the modern warehouse, the bailor and the bailee may enter into a master contract governing the bailment with the bailee and bailor keeping track of the goods stored pursuant to the master contract by notation on their respective books and records and the parties send notification via electronic communication as to what goods are covered by the master contract. Warehouse receipts are not issued. See Comment 4 to Section 7-204. There is no particular form for a warehouse receipt and failure to contain any of the terms listed in Section 7-202 does not deprive the warehouse of its lien that arises under subsection (a). See the comment to Section 7-202.

Cross References: Point 1: Sections 7-501 and 7-502.

Point 2: Sections 9-109 and 9-333.

Point 3: Sections 2-503, 7-503, 7-504, 9-203, 9-312, and 9-322.

Point 4: Sections 2-503, 7-501, 7-502, 7-504, 9-312, 9-331, 9-333, 9-401.

Point 5: Sections 2-503 and 7-403.

Point 6: Sections 7-202 and 7-204.

Definitional Cross References: “Delivery”. Section 1-201.

“Document of Title”. Section 1-201

“Goods”. Section 7-102.

“Money”. Section 1-201.

“Person”. Section 1-201.

“Purchaser”. Section 1-201.

“Right”. Section 1-201.

“Security interest”. Section 1-201.

“Value”. Section 1-204.

“Warehouse receipt”. Section 1-201.

“Warehouse”. Section 7-102.