Checking Previous Owners via the DVLA

One of the most common things to ask yourself when buying a used car is probably: “how many previous owners have there been?”

Or perhaps “Who was the last registered keeper?”

It is not always easy to find out how to check these yourself, as a lot of the advice is out of date or just inaccurate.

At FreeCarCheck we try to keep things simple, so here’s our guide on how to find out more about the previous owners of UK vehicles.

NB: If you want the easiest, fastest solution then our Premium vehicle checks will tell you the number of previous owners.


Is previous owner information in the V5 Logbook?

No. Only the current keeper plus the previous keeper information is shown in the V5 logbook.

That’s assuming that the V5 logbook is genuine. Finding out about the remainder of the previous keeper(s) history becomes a bit more involved. Here’s how to (kind of) do it…


Are previous owner’s names, addresses available for free?

Yes and no.

The DVLA will sometimes release details related to the previous/current keepers – but it’s not possible to request them online, currently.

None of the various vehicle data check services (such as ours, or HPICheck) can provide you with previous keeper details – we only provide you with the actual number of previous keepers (eg: “Previous keepers: 3“). For most people this is enough, but if you want to know something specific, it gets a little more difficult.

Due to privacy laws, the DVLA doesn’t just hand over this data willy-nilly either, so make sure that you qualify before asking for it.

Firstly, you will need a good reason – a “reasonable cause” as the DVLA call it.

Examples of what the DVLA considers a ‘reasonable cause’ are:

  • finding out who was responsible for an accident
  • tracing the registered keeper of an abandoned vehicle
  • tracing the registered keeper of a vehicle parked on private land
  • giving out parking tickets
  • giving out trespass charge notices
  • tracing people responsible for driving off without paying for goods and services
  • tracing people suspected of insurance fraud

So you cannot request previous keeper information simply because you are interested in buying the car, or just because you want to know if the car was previously used as a private hire (taxi) vehicle, for example.

Bear in mind that lying on this form is an offence as well, so don’t do it.

If you think your request is still valid, you will need to fill out form V888.


How do I fill out form V888?

Fill in a form and apply by post, it’s that simple. The form you need to use depends on whether you’re:

The V5 Log Book does not show full previous keeper information sadly.

Can companies see current keeper information?

If they pay for it yes, but it’s tightly regulated. And only for the same reasons above, for example if they are a parking charge firm (such as ParkingEye), and they need to view your details to send you a fine or invoice by post.

The DVLA makes a lot of money from giving out driver details. Each time one of these requests is made, the DVLA charges them.

FreeCarCheck and other similar vehicle check services do not have full access to all the previous keeper history information from the DVLA as we are not a parking charge firm. All we can tell you is the number of previous keepers. But we do offer many other used vehicle checks too, for a one-off price.


How else can I get in touch with DVLA?

If you want to write to the DVLA instead, and request these details, then that is also entirely possible. You can send your request to DVLA by email or post.

DVLA SAR Enquiries
[email protected]

SAR Enquiries

Good luck! You should hear back from them within 2 weeks.

If you’re just looking for the number of previous owners, read this.

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24 thoughts on “Checking Previous Owners via the DVLA

  1. I bought a motorhome in January 2022 I think this vehicle has been parked up for quite a long time the seller has told me that everything condition was very good i have only been able to use my van twice since January i need to find the previous owner i think he can help me i don’t really know how to go about this can anyone help ipaid 32000 and have spent up to now appx 3000 pound

  2. Hi, I scratched someone car by mistake at night and I left a note in the windscreen to call me so I can pay for the scratched but they didn’t. how can i contact the owner? its really bother me !

  3. can i use this service to find the details of the owner of the vehicle at the time of a category S being assigned to it?

    i own the car, have a logbook in my name, and have a date through a HPI check as to when the cat s was registered. It was apparently not the previous keeper whom i bought the car from, but someone before him and he wasn’t even aware of it.

    im looking to find out who did the repair work, and to gather any pictures of the damage that caused it in the first place. the car has been mot’d without any advisory’s and is in perfect mechanical shape, i just want some assurance that i can provide this info to any potential future buyer.

    any advice?

  4. A builder has run off with our money, can we request DVLA to give us details of the van owner so we can then make a claim against them

    1. Someone tried to sell me something and he lied about the product,steal my money and. Run away

  5. A man in a car , helped me sort out grid locked traffic in a car park , my little girl was poorly . I didn’t catch his name but remembered his number plate just wanted to say a big Thanku and that she was ok ?

  6. I want to buy back my late Grandmothers Ford C Max. I want to use the V888 form as i have all the documents from when the car was sold. Also my uncle owned the car after my Grandmother so could he fill the form out.

  7. I bought a car from a local dealer, as a naive foreigner. I was told the logbook would be posted to me and then I forgot about it because I was given the new keeper’s slip (Green). Now, that I’m trying to sell/scrap the car, I’ve found out that I need the logbook that was apparently supposed to have been delivered to me over a year ago. No online forms allow me to check that I am indeed the registered owner, even though I have received parking fines and I pay tax, insurance, MOT, etc.

    I’ve emailed a filled and signed pdf of the V888 form, so hopefully they will help me, but until then, I’m stuck!! Why are things so complicated?

    Speaking of MOT, when I went to do a new MOT, i contacted the dealer for the garage details where the car had it’s MOT when I bought the car, so that I could go to the same garage. He sent me a number, but it was not to any business. He has sinced not taken any of my calls, or responded to any emails, or messages.

    My GF bought a car off a neighbour of ours, so they did everything online, saying her logbook will arrive shortly. She still hasn’t received a logbook either, a few monthts on. If it weren’t for this case, I would make the presumption that the dealer scammed me, but perhaps I’m really just a stupid moron!

  8. Hello, just a quick question, would it be “just cause” to check who is parking in my allocated parking space without permission? It’s a space I pay monthly rent for, and I have requested them to not park there via note, as I live on an estate with many occupants. Does this count as private land, or not?
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Marcus

      It sounds like this is public land as it’s the public highway. I am really not sure if there would be “just cause” here, but it’s worth a try!

  9. Actually, the previous keeper details are not shown on the V5C any more. I purchased a car in November 2019, and the new V5C does not show the previous keeper’s details. It only shows the number of former keepers.

    1. Tim is correct. Is there any way to find out who owned myy car before me? It could have been a taxi for all I know.

    1. Please see the article above! This clarifies our position with DVLA and what we can and can’t give out. Thank you.

  10. i personally think its outrageous that the dvla can give out the information to parking companies who want to send me a £50 fine for overstaying by 1 minute and yet if i want to find out information on a car then i have to pay – not fair, but dvla is a terrible idea.

    1. Hi, Just to clarify – we are not linked to the DVLA , we only provide their data (at cost). We don’t get it for free sadly, as they make money from it. And the same is the case for parking charge companies I believe, the DVLA generates millions of £ from them every year.

      1. We just bought a car from a seller off Gumtree last night. The add said it runs perfectly. Came with the log book too. My husband went to check it out and give it a test drive. He paid for it and drove it home but this morning when we got our 3 small kids in the car to treat them to a ride to school in our new car (we usually put the baby in his pushchair and walk it) but it wouldn’t even start! We’ve tried phoning several times but it always goes straight to voicemail. No one is responding to my voice messages. The add has been removed and the user has completely deleted their profile. We’ve paid for a car that drove for 20 minutes last night and less than 10 hours later no longer works. How can I get our money back. I am a stay at home Mom of 3 and this is too much money to lose! Please help?

        1. If your Husband collected the car then he must know the address of the person who sold the car? And did he not insist on a receipt for the vehicle sale?
          Anyway, regardless of this
          youu have cover for the sale under the ‘Condumer Rights Act 2015. Insofar as the item you buy is as described. And you have 30 days to return the item to the seller. And the seller should return your outlay. Do s Google search and have a look? Helped me no end with that act and many others which will help you out.
          Good luck! Chris.

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