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Can You Put a Private Plate on a Lease Car?

Car experts predict that very few people will own their vehicle outright in 10 years’ time, so how does that effect private number plates? Can you put a private plate on a lease car?

The short answer is yes, you can put a private plate on a lease car. However, despite being straightforward, it requires a little bit of work. The process is a little bit different to normal. So to help you through the process, we’ve created this handy guide to putting private plate on a lease car.




The process of putting private plate on a lease car is as follows:

1. Purchase a personalised number plate

2. Fill in “Nominee Details” on the V778 Retention Document

3. Send documents to the DVLA

4. Assign the private plate to the lease car

5. Remove the plate at the end of the contract


1) Purchase a personalised number plate

Firstly, it’s time to purchase your own private number plate, but knowing where to buy a number plate isn’t easy. This entails either visiting a personalised number plate website, such as Click4reg or the DVLA online, or an auction – whichever works best for you.

In order to purchase a private plate, you are required to have the correct documentation. This includes documents that confirm your name and address, and documents which prove you can use the registration number. Read more about what documents you need to buy a private plate here.

You may have already bought a used personalised number plate which is on retention. The next step is to assign the personalised plate to your lease car, but this process is slightly different to the norm. Read on to find out more about putting a private number plate on lease car.


2) Fill in “Nominee Details” on the V778 Retention Document

Because the finance company are named as the owner on the vehicle’s V5 certificate, they must also be named as the nominee on the license plate certificate as well.

In the Nominee Details section of the V778 Retention Document, you will need to write down the name of the finance company, such as “Volkswagen Financial Services Ltd” for example. If you’re not sure which company name this will be, it is worth speaking to your Sales Executive and they will be able to let you know, to avoid any problems further down the line.


3) Send documents to the DVLA

Once the Nominee Details on the document have been updated, you will need to post it to the DVLA. They will print the finance company name in the Nominee section of the document, which is on the left-hand side.

The address to send your documents to should be written on the form. More often than not, you would need to send the document to:


DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS


4) Assign the private plate to the lease car


a. Option 1 – Plate On Car Before Delivery

Once the DVLA returns your Retention Document (V778), you can send it to the dealership and have your plate put on your car before it is delivered to you. Please note that choosing to put your personalised plate on the car before you take delivery can slow down the delivery process.

Photo credit: stocksolutions / Shutterstock


b. Option 2 – Plate On Car After Delivery

Another option is to get the car delivered and put your new number plate printed and fitted yourself. If you want your lease car as quickly as possible, this is often the most-preferred option.

The process for this is as follows:

- Once you have decided you want a private plate, let your lease company know as soon as possible.

- Follow steps 1 to 3 (above)

- Send the Retention Document (V778) to the finance company

- Get the new number plate printed and fitted yourself, or get them to fit it for you

Please note that choosing to put your personalised plate on the car after you take delivery means that you will need to get your own plate printed and get it fitted yourself. This will be an added expense.



5) Remove the plate at the end of the contract

At the end of your contract, you must take the plate off the car before it is returned to the finance company. You must liaise with your finance provider and do this at least six weeks prior to the end of your lease contract, to ensure there is enough time.  

To remove your private plate from your lease vehicle, you must send the following to your finance provider:

- A cheque for £105 made payable to the DVLA

- A covering letter confirming the nominee details

- The administration fee (this varies, but is usually around £35 plus VAT)

Once received, you will be sent a letter of acknowledgement. If anything is missing, you will be sent a letter requesting the documents that are missing, along with a pre-paid envelope and how long it will take.

Once the DVLA has changed the registration number for the vehicle on their records, and the appropriate documentation has been sent back to you, you must update the car’s number plate immediately.  


After this, you have the option of putting your plate on Retention, or you can assign it to your new car straight away.


Feature image credit: Iconic Bestiary / Shutterstock

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