How to Transfer Ownership of a Car? – A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Transfer Ownership of a Car? - A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you planning to sell your car or buy a used one? One of the most critical steps in this process is transferring vehicle ownership. It may seem daunting, but it’s straightforward if you know what you’re doing. This blog provides a step-by-step guide on transferring car ownership. We’ll start by giving an overview of the process and understanding the rules the DVLA sets.

Then we’ll dive into the steps involved in transferring ownership, including completing the V5C form and notifying the DVLA of ownership changes. We’ll also cover who can transfer ownership, whether private sellers and buyers or dealerships and traders. Lastly, we’ll discuss important details about the logbook and registration information and how to handle ownership transfer when scrapping a car.

Overview of Transferring Ownership

Overview of Transferring Ownership

To transfer ownership of a car, it is important to follow legal requirements in your country or state, such as obtaining registration, title, and bill of sale documents. Accurately completing paperwork is also crucial for success. Check all fees and taxes associated with transferring ownership and verify the new owner’s registration and insurance details.

Understanding the DVLA Rules

To ensure a smooth transfer of ownership of a car in the UK, it is crucial to understand and comply with DVLA rules and regulations. Before initiating the process:

  • Familiarize yourself with the necessary documentation, such as a V5C registration certificate which serves as proof of ownership
  • Ensure to notify DVLA about the change in ownership and obtain a new registration certificate
  • Keep in mind any applicable taxes or fees
  • Remember also to check the legal requirements for transferring ownership.

Steps to Transfer Ownership of a Car

To change ownership of a vehicle in the UK:

  • Obtain necessary documentation like car title, bill of sale and new keeper’s slip
  • Complete these accurately before submitting them to the DVLA online or via the post office
  • Pay relevant road tax and any other applicable fees and follow up with the DVLA to ensure a successful transfer of ownership.

Completing the V5C Form

Completing the V5C Form

It’s important to complete the V5C form correctly when transferring car ownership in the UK. You must fill in your details and send them to the DVLA within seven days and some factors you need to consider buying a used car. The previous owner should sign and date it to confirm the transfer of ownership. Not completing this step could result in legal trouble or fines.

Notifying the DVLA of Ownership Change

When transferring ownership of a car in the UK, it is crucial to notify the DVLA of the change of ownership. This legal requirement can be done easily through the DVLA website or by post. Providing your registration number and new owner’s details is necessary while notifying. Failing to notify the DVLA may result in an offence carrying fines or legal issues for both parties involved. Consider providing a signed bill of sale or transfer documentation to safeguard yourself from this risk and ensure a smooth transfer process.

Who Can Transfer Ownership of a Car?

The person listed as the legal owner of a car is the only one authorized to transfer ownership. However, the lienholder may also be involved if there is a lien on the vehicle. The process typically involves completing and submitting a title transfer form to the appropriate agency while adhering to state-specific guidelines and requirements.

Private Sellers and Buyers

To transfer ownership of an electric car, private sellers and buyers must ensure that the legal owner initiates the process. If multiple owners exist, all parties concerned must agree to the transfer. To avoid penalties or legal issues, sellers must notify the DVLA of any ownership changes online or by mail using the registration number and new owner’s details. Providing a signed bill of sale or transfer document is also recommended for a smoother process.

Dealerships and Traders

Dealerships and Traders

When transferring ownership of a car in the UK, dealerships and traders can do so as long as the vehicle is registered under their name. If multiple car owners exist, all parties should agree to the transfer beforehand. Executors or legal representatives may also handle the process. Afterward, new owners must register with the DVLA and get a new logbook (V5C) with proper documentation from registered keepers. To avoid any offences or penalties, all paperwork must be accurately completed.

The Difference Between Owner and Keeper

Understanding the difference between car ownership and being its keeper is crucial when you transfer ownership of a car. The keeper takes care of the vehicle while the owner has legal rights. Usually, these are the same people, but when selling or buying a used car, you must transfer ownership correctly to avoid any offence or liability. You can visit DVLA’s website for complete information on maintaining logbook details and transferring registration papers.

Logbook and Registration Details

Updating all registration details accurately is crucial when transferring ownership of a car. Remember that the registered keeper needs to renew the car tax and MOT. After completing the V5C form (the logbook), sellers must provide buyers with receipts as proof of purchase. Buyers should update their insurance policies before notifying DVLA of changes via post office or online on the DVLA website using an 11-digit reference number. Lastly, make sure that all registration certificates and documentation are updated correctly.

Scraping a Car and Ownership Transfer

When transferring ownership of a car in the UK, it’s essential to differentiate between the registered keeper and the car’s keeper. Proper scrapping of a used car involves presenting a Certificate of Destruction from an authorized treatment facility. After filling and signing the V5C form by both parties involved in the transaction, notify DVLA of the change in ownership. Ensure all outstanding fines or taxes on your vehicle are cleared to avoid legal offences.


Transferring car ownership can be daunting, but it is essential to get it done correctly. The process involves various steps, including filling out forms and notifying relevant authorities. This guide has detailed everything you need to know about transferring ownership of a car, including the DVLA rules and the difference between owner and keeper. This guide covers whether you’re a private seller, buyer, dealership, or trader. Follow each step carefully to ensure the transfer of ownership process goes smoothly.

FAQ – Transfer Ownership of Car

FAQ - Transfer Ownership of Car

Can I register new keeper details online?

Yes, you can register new keeper details online in the UK by visiting the DVLA website and using an 11-digit reference number found on the V5C form. Alternatively, you can also use the post office to notify DVLA of any changes in ownership.

Does car tax transfer to new owner?

Whether car tax transfers to a new owner varies by country and region, so it’s crucial to check with your local DMV or relevant authority. Sometimes, the seller must present a tax clearance certificate before the transfer. Ensure all taxes and fees are paid to avoid any legal issues.

How long does it take to transfer registered keeper?

Transferring the registered keeper of a car usually takes 4-6 weeks, but this may vary depending on DVLA efficiency and paperwork issues. Notify the DVLA and insurance company immediately to avoid legal and financial repercussions.

Can you sell a car without tax?

No, selling a car without tax in the UK is illegal. As a seller, you are responsible for ensuring that the vehicle has valid road tax and that all taxes and fees have been paid before transferring ownership. Failure to do so can end up in legal consequences.

What is the fine for not paying road tax in UK?

The fine for not paying road tax in the UK can vary based on when the tax remains unpaid. It can range from a fixed penalty of £80 to a court-imposed fine of up to £1,000. Additionally, driving without valid road tax can result in penalty points on your license and even the seizure of your vehicle by authorities.