Difference Between Owner and Registered Keeper

In big bold letters on the front of all V5C registration documents issued since April 2019 are the words “this document is not proof of ownership.”

When it comes to cars, there’s a difference between the “owner” and the “registered keeper”.

What’s the difference, and why does it matter? Let’s take a look.

Who is the Owner of a Car?

An owner is the person or the company who bought the car in the first place or who the car has been gifted to. Usually, this is also the registered keeper of the car but not always.

Who is the Registered Keeper of a Car?

A “registered keeper” is usually the main driver of the car. They’re responsible for “keeping” the car on a daily basis. This includes ensuring the car’s taxed, insured, and that it has a valid MOT certificate.

From a legal perspective, a registered keeper will be the main point of contact for all legal issues relating to the car. So if the Police or relevant authority ever have to issue a speeding fine or a parking ticket, they’ll send it to the car’s registered keeper.

What’s The Difference Between Owner and Registered Keeper?

As mentioned above, an owner and its registered keeper will often be the same person. However, there are some scenarios where an owner and registered keeper will be different people.

How Can the Owner and Registered Keeper be Different?

  • Company Car Arrangements. With most company cars, the company itself will buy the car for an employee. The company will therefore be the “owner” but the employee themselves will be the registered keeper.
  • If parents buy a car for their child, the parents may continue to own and pay for the car, but the child that keeps the car and as the main driver will be the registered keeper.

Registered Keeper Responsibilities

If you are the registered keeper of the car you will be the first point of contact for the Police for any legal matters, such as parking and speeding fines. You must ensure that anyone else who uses the car has a valid driving licence and adequate insurance, or you might be personally liable for any accidents that take place when they’re driving.

Car Owner Responsibilities

If you are the car owner but you’re not its main driver, you must still ensure the registered keeper’s details are correct and up-to-date. Otherwise, you may be legally liable for any fines or offences linked to the car.

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