You could lose your private number plate if you don’t act soon

You could lose your private number plate if you don’t act soon
You could lose your private number plate if you don’t act soon

Drivers with personalised registrations are being warned that they could lose the right to use them if they don’t ensure their paperwork is up to date by the end of this year.

Millions of motorists have personalised or private number plates on their cars but many others hold the rights to use them without actually having them on a vehicle – known as keeping them on retention.

With the most desirable plates estimated to be worth as much as £500,000, some owners view them as an investment rather than something to adorn a vehicle but DVLA changes could see motorists lose the right to these investments.

If you hold a plate on retention you must renew the certificate of entitlement every 10 years, which can be done for free.

Currently, if you fail to do this you buy back the right to use it from the DVLA as long as you obtained the relevant V750 or V778 certificate before March 9, 2015 and it expired on or after May 1, 2011. The reapplication process costs £25 for each year that the certificate has expired.

However, from December 18, 2019, the DVLA will no longer be accepting applications to renew expired retention certificates. This means if you don’t renew before then you’ll lose the right to use the registration.

The DVLA made more than £110m from personalised registration sales in 2017 (Photo: DVLA)

Read more: Everything you need to know about buying and selling a personalised number plate

The DVLA has said that if entitlement to a plate is allowed to lapse after December 18 that plate will not be reissued to the previous keeper or anyone else and will simply disappear from use.

A spokesman told HonestJohn: “DVLA only sells previously unissued registration marks and there are no plans to sell the rights to previously issued marks where the rights have been lost.”

Renewing a retention certificate is straightforward. You can do it by filling in the V750 or V778 certificate and sending it to the DVLA at the address on the form along with the fee.

Read more: These are seven of the rudest car number plates on sale today

Each portion of a year counts as a full year, so if it expired 13 months ago you’ll have to pay £50.

If you have lost the certificate you can still reapply to retain the right to the registration. You’ll need to write to DVLA Personalised Registrations explaining why you do not have your V750 or V778. You will also need to include the fee, your private number and proof of your name and address, for example your driving licence or both your passport and a utility bill.

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