Who is responsible for registering a leased vehicle with the DVLA?

Guide to registering a leased vehicle

  • Should I be registering a leased vehicle with the DVLA?
  • Who is responsible for registering a leased vehicle?
  • What is the difference between registered owner and registered keeper?
  • What happens with speeding/parking fines?

Should I be registering a leased vehicle with the DVLA?

Registering a leased vehicle with the DVLA is a legal requirement. The DVLA stands for Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency.

The DVLA is a huge database containing information on every car in the UK. This includes vehicles that are no longer on the road. The information the DVLA keep includes the car specifications such as make, model and colour. Alongside the contact information of the registered owner and registered keeper of the car.

They also have a note of all vehicles registered and when their MOT due dates and Tax renewals are. You can check a vehicle’s MOT history and due date here.

DVLA Headed Paper

Who is responsible for registering a leased vehicle?

We get asked a lot of questions about how to register lease vehicles. However, the most common questions are about who has responsibility for registering a lease car. Does it fall to the lease company or the driver?

Once a vehicle has been leased, the Finance House is the party responsible for registering it with the DVLA. This is due to the fact that the Finance House is the owner of the vehicle and has a vested interest in it. The person taking out the lease is hiring the vehicle for use. For the duration of the lease contract, the registered owner and keeper of the vehicle is the Finance House and it is their responsibility to inform the DVLA that the car is on the road.

What is the difference between a registered owner and a registered keeper?

When it comes to registering a leased vehicle it can be confusing to understand all the terminology. Don’t worry, OSV’s got your back.

  • The registered owner is the person who has purchased the vehicle and holds the proof of purchase, ie the vehicle logbook. In the case of a lease, this is the Finance House.
  • The registered keeper is the person who is responsible for taxing the vehicle.


It’s very easy to assume that the person leasing the vehicle is the keeper. They are the one driving it, afterall. However, this is not the case. The Finance House is the registered keeper with the DVLA. It is their responsibility to ensure the vehicle is taxed while registering a leased vehicle and throughout the contract.


Who is the Registered Keeper of a lease car?
We answer this question and more in our article.

VW Passat Saloon

What happens with speeding/parking fine notifications?

If you receive a speeding or parking fine while in your lease car,  then there are a few ways that this can be handled.

Some Finance Houses will pay the fine and then notify you of the charge. The charge will then be passed on to the you as the driver. Payment will usually be taken via your next Direct Debit payment (plus an admin fee).

Other Finance Houses will notify the ticket issuer of your details and instruct them to send the fine to you, the driver, directly.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to choose how the Finance House deals with fines, as it depends entirely on which one your lease is processed through. It is wholly down to the process they have in-house.

Before registering a leased vehicle it’s worth asking the Finance House what their procedure is.

Of course, you may never get a parking or speeding ticket, but it’s always worth being aware of the processes, just in case.

Parking warden and car with ticket on windscreen

Do lease car drivers need to notify the DVLA of a change of address?

If you move to a new house or your information changes (e.g. you get married and change your last name) while you have a lease vehicle then you will need to notify the Finance House as soon as possible. This will ensure that you continue to receive all important documentation that is about your vehicle. This is especially important if you have received a speeding or parking fine, as fines increase if they remain unpaid.

Even though you are not registered as the keeper of the vehicle with the DVLA, you will need to notify them directly of any change of details for your driving licence. You can easily update the details of your driving licence online. Failure to update your personal details can result in a fine of up to £1,000, which is a fine you will want to avoid if you can.

In the case of a personalised number plate on a lease vehicle, you’ll also need to complete a V750 or V788 form to notify the DVLA that your details have changed. There’s more information about the process for changing a personalised number plate with the DVLA on the government website.

House number sign

What happens if I forget to notify a change in address?

If you have a lease vehicle, the most important thing you need to do is ensure that all your details are up to date with the lease company as soon as you can. It would also be worthwhile asking them to forward any correspondence they have tried to send. This is so you can keep a complete set of records for their vehicle. Then, you will need to update your driving licence details as a matter of urgency. If you are found to have any out of date information on your driving licence (including name and address) you could end up with a £1,000 fine.

What is a V5C Certificate?

The V5C certificate contains all of the key information registered with the DVLA such as the date the vehicle was first registered, the colour and engine size. It also contains the contact information of the registered owner and registered keeper.

What if I need a copy of the V5C certificate of my lease vehicle?

In the unlikely event that you, as the driver of a leased vehicle, need a copy of the V5C certificate, then the Finance House can provide you with a copy upon request.

Where is a vehicle registered during its lease?

Registering a leased vehicle is a bit different from the standard vehicle registration. The vehicle will be registered to the Finance House at their UK head office address throughout the course of the lease contract. The driver can request the exact information held by the DVLA for registration of the vehicle at any time from the Finance House.

In the event of a lease car being purchased at the end of the contract, the Finance House will complete the process with the DVLA to transfer ownership to the person purchasing the vehicle. This is the same process as buying a second-hand vehicle.

What if my vehicle’s details aren’t showing up on the DVLA website?

There are a number of eventualities that may result in a car not appearing in DVLA records online. This largely depends on whether it is a new or used vehicle and whether it’s a recent lease or purchase.

Registering a lease vehicle can take slightly longer. This is because leased vehicles are not usually registered with the DVLA until the day of delivery. Therefore it can sometimes take a few days for the registration to appear on the DVLA website. This can also have a knock-on effect and if the DVLA are experiencing a high volume of registrations. In this instance, the registration may just be in the pile. If after a few days there is still no sign of the car on the DVLA website the driver should contact the Finance House to notify them.

As the Finance House is the registered owner and keeper it will hold the logbook and will need to rectify any issues with the registration with the DVLA directly.

Business man searching for a car on a tablet

Insuring a vehicle that isn’t yet registered with the DVLA

The only frustration with a delay in registration is if you, as the driver, want to obtain insurance for your new lease.

Most online comparison tools and insurer websites use the DVLA records to find information about the car via its registration plate to give a quote. So if the vehicle isn’t registered yet this process won’t work. We would recommend you contact the insurers directly armed with the p11D value and vehicle specification. Providing this information will allow the insurer to provide a quote based on the same information held by the DVLA.


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VW Tiguan
Rachel Richardson


  • David| 8th December 2020 at 10:53 am Reply

    If I lease a car from GB and then take it into NI where it will physically sit, will I be required to register with DVLA Swansea or DVA Coleraine?

    • Rachel Richardson| 8th December 2020 at 12:58 pm Reply

      Hi David,

      According to information from the Gov.uk website: You can move your vehicle freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland if it’s registered in either country.

      We hope this information helps. If you are looking for a new lease vehicle, please contact our vehicle experts on 01903 538835 and they will be happy to help.

  • Ben| 30th May 2019 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Hi Faye, I’ve ordered a lease car which was meant to be a 69 plate and delivered in September. They have sent me the paperwork which shows a 19 plate number. It does state the car will be registered on 14/06/2019 (2 weeks time). If it hasn’t yet been registered, can they delay the registration and assign a new 69 plate to the car come September or is this too late? Thank you Ben

    • Rachel Richardson| 31st May 2019 at 9:06 am Reply

      Hi Ben,
      As we have already started our conversation on another thread we will continue our response there. Many thanks for your comment.

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