Checking Previous Owners via the DVLA

Checking Previous Owners via the DVLA

They are common things to search for when you buy a used car – how many previous owners have there been? Who was the last registered keeper? Has the vehicle been a taxi or private hire at any point? It is not always easy to find out if these are possible to do, a lot of the online guides are out of date or inaccurate. At FreeCarCheck we try to keep things simple, so here’s our guide to finding out more information (for free) about previous owners of any UK vehicle.

Note that your V5 Log Book will show you the current owner of the vehicle, but finding out a bit more about the previous keepers becomes a bit more involved.


Is previous owner information free?

Yes and no.

The DVLA will sometimes release actual driver (keeper) details – related to the previous/current keepers for example – but it’s not possible to do this online sadly. None of the various free or paid-for vehicle check services (such as ours, or HPI Check) provide previous keeper details – we only provide you with the actual number of previous keepers (eg: 3).

Due to privacy laws, the DVLA doesn’t just hand over this data willy-nilly either, so make sure that you qualify. You will need a good reason – a “reasonable cause” as they call it. Some examples of what the DVLA calls 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 just to be nosey, 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.

The processes to request this information are quite easy – if your situation applies.


How do I request Previous Owner (Keeper) information?

Fill in a form and apply by post. 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 previous keeper information?

Only for the same reasons above, unless 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 your details (as each time these companies request the data, they get charged). 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. But we do offer many other used vehicle checks for a low price.


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.

SAR Enquiries

6 thoughts on “Checking Previous Owners via the DVLA

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

  1. 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.

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