Drivers need to act soon or risk losing their personalised number plates

Drivers need to act soon or risk losing their personalised number plates
Drivers need to act soon or risk losing their personalised number plates

The owners of personalised car registrations have less than three weeks to ensure their paperwork is in order or risk losing the right to use the number.

A private or personalised plate is a matter of pride for millions of drivers but as well as those who display them on their cars, there are many others who own the rights to a registration without using it on a vehicle.

Keeping a plate “on retention” in this way means they can fit it to a vehicle of their choosing at a later date or hang on to it in the hope that it will increase in value.

With the most desirable plates estimated to be worth up to £500,000, that might not be a bad idea but DVLA changes coming this month could see motorists lose the right to these investments.

Renewing your entitlement

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 the registration mark 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

Lost rights

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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