Registered Keeper vs. Car Owner

It is a typical misunderstanding that a registered keeper of a vehicle is also the car owner. If you have seen the V5C registration document, it clearly says, “THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT PROOF OF OWNERSHIP,” written in bold.

The V5C only mentions the registered keeper, meaning the one who drives the car daily and is responsible for the following:

  1. To register, tax, and insure the vehicle.
  2. Pay for parking tickets as well as for motoring violations.
  3. Making sure the vehicle has a valid MOT.

The registered keeper is the first point of contact for the Police for any enquiry they may have. So, who is precisely the car owner? The vehicle owner is the one who has bought the vehicle or got it as a gift; it could be a person or a company. The owner may or may not be the registered keeper.

For instance, a firm buys a vehicle and gives it to their employee who drives its daily. In another scenario, a family member (father, mother, etc,) buys a car and gives it to their child for a daily-use. The other family member is then the registered keeper and responsible for the vehicle.

As a car owner, you should make sure the keeper’s particulars are accurate and up-to-date with the DVLA. In case of any discrepancy, you will be lawfully liable for wrongdoings related to the vehicle.

What does “registered car owner” mean?

In simple words, it means the Car Owner; the one who legally owns the vehicle. It is not something you register with any UK agency; instead, it is a receipt of purchase or a contract from a finance company.

It is worth mentioning here, the V5C document (logbook) does not state the name of the current vehicle owner. It only cites the name of the ‘registered keeper,’ one who accede liability for use/misuse of the vehicle on public roads. The keeper could be the owner as well. However, if the car is on finance, it is obvious the owner is the financial institution.

Car Owner: Your Registration Certificate (V5C) and you

The V5C is the vehicle registration document that the DVLA issues soon after you (as an owner) take delivery of the car. Also known as ‘logbook,’ it features red, blue, pink, and yellow colours and remains with you throughout your ownership. Once you decide to sell the vehicle, you need to hand over the green ‘new keeper’s details’ slip (V5C/2) to the new keeper. If you are a buyer, you should make sure you do not buy the vehicle without the V5C/2.

If you are looking to find a car owner on the V5C document, you will find yourself utterly lost because it does not provide this information. The logbook contains only the following info:

  • Date of first registration
  • Present Registered Keeper
  • Earlier Registered Keeper
  • Vehicle details encompassing the model, vehicle tax class, engine size, VIN/Chassis/Frame number, and the colour.
  • The forms to fill out and send to the DVLA in case the registered keeper or the vehicle itself experiences an alteration. The registration document also features segments to fill out in case the car goes for scrap or export.

Checking how many owners a vehicle has had

Unfortunately, you cannot find car owner by registration number, nor you could identify how many owners a vehicle has had. A little confusing though, a car owner check does not tell you who owns the car. Instead, it reveals who keeps the vehicle.

Our car owner check tells you the number of registered keepers and the date when they enlisted the vehicle. We cannot share the name of the registered keepers or previous owners with you because UK law prevents us from doing this.

So, the question remains how to find out who owns a car? Ask the seller for the original invoice/receipt of the purchase. If the seller had bought the vehicle in private, they should still have some form of written receipt/agreement mentioning the date, the money paid, the mode of disbursement, sold by (individual or firm), sold to (your complete name), the car make, model, and the registration number.

Alternatively, you can request the DVLA for the registered keeper’s name and address if you have a ‘reasonable cause’ for this.

How to change the registered keeper of a car?

To change the keepership of your car, you must be its current ‘Keeper.’ You must also understand that when you change registered keeper in a private sale, you are switching the legal ownership to the new owner.

You can change keepership/ownership by just filling out section 6 of the V5C form by providing all the necessary details. You then require to post the document to the DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA.

However, before dispatching the document to the DVLA, make sure both the registered keeper and the new keeper sign the certificate. The new keeper should also fill in section 10 of the logbook (aka V5C/2). As someone keen to take ownership of the vehicle, you must possess this until you get a new V5C that mentions you as the registered keeper of the car.

You can also perform keeper/ownership transfer online on the DVLA website. The process is different for a motor trader.

Car Ownership & Previous Car Owners History

Finding how many owners a car has had is crucial in the UK market. The reason is a vehicle with four or more owners is hard to sell. Moreover, you need to understand that what you see on the logbook (V5C document) is the number of previous keepers, excluding the one who keeps the vehicle right now. We mean, if you find the logbook mentions ‘No of Previous Keepers’ is 4, it precisely has five keepers. The fifth person is the one who keeps it presently.

We should also not mix up the registered keeper with the owner. A car can change its keeper without changing its ownership. However, whenever a car sells, it has to change the owner.

With our car owner check, you will know how many keepers or owners a vehicle has had and when did they register with the DVLA. Please note we cannot provide the name of the owner and their address in our data check since we are bound to follow UK laws.

Moreover, there is no such thing as car owner check free. It is a premium service and every Vehicle Data Agency charges for this information.

Checking Previous Car Owners via the DVLA

If you are interested in knowing about the previous owners, there are just two ways. Either you can ask the DVLA, or you run our keeper’s history check. Checking the previous owner through the DVLA is not that simple. Furthermore, the DVLA may not entertain you if you do not have a reasonable cause. It means they cannot just tell you about previous owners of a vehicle because you are interested in buying it. In this post, we have mentioned some of the ‘reasonable causes’ that could persuade the DVLA.

We at Car Analytics highly recommend checking the number of car owners before your purchase. It will not only save you from fraud but will also help you determine whether the car is reliable or not. A car changing multiple owners in a short time is a huge red flag.

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Registered Keeper vs. Car Owner | Vehicle Check | Car Analytics
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Registered Keeper vs. Car Owner | Vehicle Check | Car Analytics
This blog shows the difference between the car owner & registered keeper. It tells us to find out a car owner & how to change a registered keeper of a car.
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Car Analytics
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