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Registered keeper vs owner of a car

December 23, 2021 by

The registered keeper and the owner of the car are usually assumed to be the same thing, but this isn’t always the case. So what’s the difference?

The most common example of the registered keeper and owner of a car being different is with company cars. In this case, the company is the owner and the employee who uses it will be the registered keeper.

Who is the registered keeper of a car?

The registered keeper of a car will be the person who ‘keeps’ it and uses it day-to-day. This is also the person who appears on the car’s V5C logbook, which is why it states “This document is not proof of ownership”.

The registered keeper of the vehicle is responsible for taxing it, making sure it has a valid MOT and insuring it. They will also be the first point of call for any speeding tickets, parking fines or police enquiries related to that car.

Who is the owner of a car?

While it is common for the registered keeper and the owner to be the same person, this isn’t always the case. A common example of this is company cars. If you are the owner of the car, it’s your responsibility to make sure anyone you permit to drive the vehicle has insurance.

The owner of the car is the person or company who purchased it or the person who was gifted the vehicle. If you are the owner of the car but someone else is the registered keeper, you need to make sure the vehicle’s registration documents reflect this or you could be liable for any tickets picked up in that vehicle.

To prove that you own the car, you’ll need some sort of receipt or invoice from when you bought it. Even if you buy the car privately, make sure the seller gives you some sort of written agreement detailing the date of sale, the amount you paid and the method of payment.

How to change the registered keeper of a car

To change the registered keeper of a car, you just need to contact the DVLA to let them know, the same as you would if you were selling the car. This can be done by post or online.

To do it by post, you’ll need the V5C logbook. Simply fill out the section for transferring the vehicle to a new keeper, along with the green new keeper slip.

Tear out the green new keeper slip and give it to the person you’re transferring the car to and post the rest of the document to the DVLA. The new keeper will get a fresh Logbook in the post in their name.
Doing it online is a bit easier and quicker. You’ll still need your V5C logbook as you need the 11 digit reference number and the new keeper slip. All you need to do is go to the gov.uk website and fill out the form to transfer ownership, and a new logbook will be sent out to the new keeper.

In the meantime, give the new keeper the filled out green slip from the current logbook and destroy the rest of it.

How to change the owner of a car

When you sell your car, you’ll need to give the buyer some kind of receipt/invoice as proof that they are now the legal owner of the vehicle. This should contain the car’s make, model, colour, registration number and VIN, along with the date of sale, the amount paid and the method of payment.

Equally, if you are buying a car you should make sure you get the same document and store it in a safe place. You should also ask the seller if they have the invoice from when they bought the car as well to make sure that they legally own it. You are within your rights to reject the V5C as proof of ownership.

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