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Change Car Ownership

How to register a new keeper with the DVLA

Transferring the ownership of a car requires more than simply signing your name and handing the keys over to the new owner.

In the UK, the buyer must legally register ownership of a vehicle. Whether sold or given to someone at no cost, the DVLA must be made aware of the transfer.

In this nifty guide, you will find everything you need to know about how to transfer car owners, legal requirements and how to do so.

Man and woman kiss after remembering to notify DVLA of changes.

Who is the legal Owner of a Car Versus Who is the Keeper?

Knowing the difference between a car owner and registered keeper is crucial when transferring ownership.

The owner is the person who paid for the car or received it as a gift.

The keeper is the person that routinely ‘keeps’ and drives the car. The keeper is:

  • Listed on the car’s vehicle registration certificate (V5C) or logbook,
  • Legally responsible for the car, including taxing and insuring the vehicle,
  • Ensuring the car is in a roadworthy condition,
  • Responsible for ensuring annual MOT tests after the car is three years or older
  • Point of contact for the police for any queries or offences related to the use of the vehicle (For example, if the car were caught by a traffic light camera running a red light, the keeper is responsible for paying the fine, whether or not they were driving the vehicle at that time.)

In many instances, the car’s owner and keeper are the same people, but this is not always the case.

Filling Out the V5C Certificate?

Before buying, we suggest a vehicle check so you can ensure the car isn’t stolen, written off or on finance.

Many people refer to this as the car’s logbook or registration document, though the V5C certificate is its official name. Currently, the V5C is red, blue, and pink.

The V5C is issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) when the car is initially registered. Whenever the vehicle’s ownership changes hands, the V5C just be completed and returned to the DVLA. At this time, a new V5C is provided by DVLA.

If you are the person listed on the V5C, it is your responsibility to change car ownership and tell the DVLA. It ensures you will not be held responsible for a vehicle you no longer legally own. Due to the risk of mileage fraud, it is best practice to include the car’s mileage at the ownership transfer time.

For new style V5C’s, the registered keeper fills in Section 2 with the new keepers full name, registered address and date of sale.

New owners date of birth and vehicle mileage at time of sale are both optional but we like to include as much detail as possible.

Both parties sign the V5 and the new keeper retains the green Section 6 so they can get car tax right away.

The existing keeper must send the rest of the logbook to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA.

A new logbook is sent to the new keeper, usually within two weeks.

Transferring Vehicle Ownership Online

Thanks to the internet, transferring ownership of a car has never been quicker or easier.

The DVLA allows you to tell them you’ve sold, transferred, or bought a vehicle through their website. To do this, you will the new owner’s details, along with the 11-digit reference number found on the V5C.

After the form has been submitted, you will receive a confirmation email. DVLA aim to send a new logbook in ten days.

Selling or Transferring Car Ownership to a Dealer or Scrap Yard

Any time ownership of a car is transferred, the number of previous owners on the V5C will increase by one. It is not the case if the car is sold to a motor trader or dealer as they are not officially classed as a registered keeper.

If you sell or part exchange the car to a dealer the yellow Section 4 slip is filled out with their business name, business address, VAT number and date of transfer. You must send Section 4 to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA.

The dealer (or scrappers) retain the rest of the logbook.

Transferring ownership of a vehicle is very important every time it is sold and is a legal requirement.

Online notification is preferred as DVLA are instantly aware of changes.