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It is not always easy to find out how to check these yourself, as a lot of the advice is out of date or just inaccurate.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:
- an individual – use form V888 here
- a company that issues parking or trespass charge notices – use form V888/3 here
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
Good luck! You should hear back from them within 2 weeks.
If you’re just looking for the number of previous owners, read this.