Can You Sell a Car Without a V5?

The V5 form is one of the most important documents for a car owner, as it's proof that you are the registered owner of a particular vehicle. When you decide that it's time to sell your car, a prospective buyer will need as much reassurance as possible that the deal is legitimate and that you're legally allowed to make the sale. However, even the most crucial documents can get lost or damaged, and you might no longer be in possession of your V5. Fortunately, it's still possible for you to sell your vehicle without it – read on to find out how.

How to sell your car without a V5

What’s in a V5 form?

The V5, officially known as the V5C registration certificate, is a document that you should have received when you bought your vehicle. Any prospective buyer will also expect to receive one from you. The DVLA uses this document to determine the legal owner of a car or other motor vehicle. It’s commonly referred to as the logbook, and it contains a number of important pieces of information, including:

  • The car’s registration plate
  • Make of the car (manufacturer/brand)
  • Specific model of the car
  • Colour
  • Engine size
  • Details of previous owners
  • Details of current owner

This last section is what sellers usually need to fill out when they’re transferring ownership of the car. There are also a number of other perforated sections to the form, which can be removed and sent off in certain situations, such as:

  • Selling the vehicle to a trader, insurer, or dismantler
  • Permanently exporting the vehicle overseas

Is it legal to sell a car without a V5?

It is perfectly legal to sell on your car without having the V5, although it’s a little more complicated. It might also be more difficult to persuade a prospective buyer, as the absence of a V5 can be a red flag. If someone is trying to sell them a car without a V5, they may suspect a number of things, including:

  • The car is stolen. One plausible reason that a seller doesn’t have a V5 is that they’re not the legal owner of the car, perhaps because they obtained it illegally.
  • You’re hiding some serious issue with the car. It is possible to get a replacement V5 form (see below), so if you don’t have one when you sell your car, it suggests that you’re in a hurry to get rid of it. This might arouse suspicions in the prospective buyer, and they’ll start to think that there might be something seriously wrong with the car.
  • You’ve taken out a “logbook loan”. This is a way of borrowing money quickly, using a car as collateral. If a buyer was to purchase a vehicle that was technically part of a separate finance deal with a third party, this could lead to trouble for them further down the road.

Even if the prospective buyer doesn’t suspect that there is any foul play and you’re being fully honest and upfront with them about the car, the absence of a V5 might put them off because they might be unable to tax the vehicle immediately.

Can you get a replacement V5?

Fortunately, it is possible to obtain a replacement V5 document. All you have to do is fill out a form on the DVLA website, or make an application over the phone or via post. The application process is slightly different, depending on whether you originally had a V5, or if you never had one in the first place. The fee is usually £25. It can take up to six weeks for one to arrive, so make sure you do it as quickly as possible.

What else can you do?

If you can’t get a V5 replacement for whatever reason, there are other things you can do. You may need to lower the price a little in order to make the sale more appealing to the prospective buyer. And, as long as they’re happy with it, you can just provide them with a bill of sale instead of a logbook. This will give them all the information that they need to apply for their own V5, at a later stage. You should include:

  • Vehicle make and model
  • Registration info
  • VIN plate number
  • Buyer’s full name
  • Date of sale
  • Signatures of both the buyer and seller
  • The price/payment terms

Even if you have lost your V5 document, or you never had one to begin with, it’s still possible to sell your car. Make sure you keep in mind everything that we explained in this guide, and you’ll be able to make a sale quickly and conveniently, in a way that satisfies you and your buyer. If you do have a vehicle that you want to put up for sale, why not head over to our used cars marketplace and create a listing for free?

For more advice on how to change ownership of a car, view our buying and selling guides.

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