Your Vehicle V5C logbook is your proof of ownership.
But here’s where it gets complicated: it’s proof that you are the registered keeper but doesn’t necessarily mean you legally own the car. It does mean however that you’re responsible for registering and taxing it.
Logbooks are used by the DVLA to keep a record of every car in the country and so yours will include your name, address, car details and any previous owners.
Every time a vehicle changes hands, the logbook is filled in by the seller and the buyer, sent off to DVLA and they then send a new logbook to the new owner.
It’s still a paper-based process but some of it has been digitised: a seller can notify the DVLA online which will save you having to post off a logbook and wait weeks for the new one to arrive.
Selling your car?
You’ll need to fill in the green, ‘new keeper’ part of the logbook, tear it off and give it to the new owner. You must then tell the DVLA by post or online . They’ll update the registered owner and you’ll get confirmation by letter or email in 4-6 weeks.
You must do this to get any tax refunds that are due.
Buying a car?
If it’s a brand new car, the seller will usually register it for you. If they do this online, you’ll get the logbook in at little as five days. If it’s done manually, it may take six weeks.
If you don’t receive it after six weeks, contact the DVLA.
It’s the same if you’re buying a used car. Though check with the seller that they will let the DVLA know and make sure to get the ‘new keeper’ slip as it’s also your proof of purchase. If the seller uses the online process, give them your email address and you’ll also get a confirmation email from DVLA.
This is important: if the seller doesn’t have the logbook, think carefully about buying the car. No logbook will impact your legal claim to ownership and will make it difficult to tax the car.
What happens if I lose my VC5 logbook?
Don’t panic! You can apply for a duplicate logbook online which costs £25.
You can also call the DVLA if you’re the registered keeper of the logbook that has gone missing, got lost or is damaged.
You’ll need to tell them your:
- Registration number
- VIN/Chassis number
- Name and postcode as they appear on the logbook
Note: You can’t use the online service if you need to change details, your vehicle is registered in Ireland or you don’t have the vehicle in your possession.