Is there any way to find out the legal owner of a car please?

Posted 11th Sep 2011
As title is there any way to find out who the legal owner of a car is?
Community Updates
Registered Keeper Vs Owner of a Car
It can be confusing to know the difference between a registered keeper and the legal owner of a vehicle. We’ll take a look at the some of the most common questions asked about car ownership in the UK.

Is there a difference between the registered keeper and the owner of a car?
Yes, the UK law states that the registered keeper of a car is the person whose name appears on the V5C document (commonly known as a log book). However, this is not proof of ownership of the vehicle (the DVLA actually state this on the V5C document itself). The registered keeper will have all communications from the DVLA and the police sent to them. The owner of the car is the person who bought it (or who the car was gifted to).

Can I find out who the registered keeper of a car is?
As an individual you can request information about a vehicle’s registered keeper from DVLA (using form v888 here) but only if you have a ‘reasonable cause’, which could mean finding out who was responsible for an accident, for tracing the owner of an abandoned vehicle or a vehicle parked on private land.
You can always ask the DVLA for information about you, your current vehicle or a vehicle that used to be registered in your name. This service is free of charge.

I own the car but my name is not on the V5C document, should I get this changed?
It depends on whether you are the main user of the vehicle or not. For example, if you are married and your spouse is the main user of the car then they should also be the registered keeper. Also, some insurance companies only insure the registered keeper of the vehicle. You must always tell your insurance company if you’re not named on the log book otherwise your insurance may be not be valid.

Can I change the address of the registered keeper?
Yes, in fact you must update your vehicle log book (V5C) if you change your address or name. It is a free service and you can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA when your address changes. See what supporting evidence you need to send to the DVLA here.

I’ve just sold my car, what do I do with the logbook?
The first step is to give the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2) from the log book to the buyer, then inform DVLA you’re no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle. You can do this by sending the V5C document back to the DVLA or by using their online service here.