Can You Put a Private Plate on a Leased Car? 

5 minutes Published: 26/08/2021

Many drivers like to add a touch of personalisation to their new personal contract hire car. A charity sticker to the inner window. Amusing bumper stickers. Fluffy pink dice.

Perhaps the most common (and most expensive) personalisation option for a car is a private registration plate. 

Often known as 'cherished number plates', these can be worth a serious amount of cash - buying and reselling them for a profit is big business. They can vary in price from £50 to 100 times that.

We’re going to quickly tell you what exactly a private registration plate is and how to get one, before guiding you through how to get it on to your new lease car! 

Doing a spot of research before taking out a personal lease deal or business lease deal? Smart move! You know what is even smarter? Using Lease Fetcher to compare lease deals from leading UK brokers.

What is a Private Registration Plate? 

A private or cherished registration plate is a vehicle registration plate that is chosen by the driver, as opposed to being randomly generated. You buy the rights to the number, and then can assign it to a vehicle of your choice. 

As we mentioned, the price of a private registration varies considerably, based on the desirability of the number. The most expensive registration plate in the UK is “25 O” which sold for a whopping £400,000 in 2014! 

Of course, if you want something a little bit simpler, you can expect to pay around £50-100. 

Where can I get a new number plate? 

Once you’ve decided on the plate of your choice, there’s a couple of steps you need to take to obtain ownership over the  private registration plate: 

  1. Purchase a personalised number - There’s various websites that sell cherished number plates. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) holds regular auctions and sells millions of plates online. You can also buy from a private reseller/individual instead of the DVLA personalised registration service. When you buy a plate, you’ll be sent a Certificate of Entitlement (V750) through the post. This is documentation declaring you the owner of the plate, and you’ll need this to register it to your car!
  2. Assign the number to your car: This is fairly simple and you can do it quickly through the GOV.UK website. You’ll need your V750 form that you got when you bought the plate, or the reference number that your seller gave you. 
  3. Have the new plates made: You’ll need to have your plates made by a registered dealer - not by your shady cousin in his garage. Here’s a tool to find your nearest registered number plate supplier. 

I’ve already got a private number plate - how do I add it to my lease car? 

If you've taken out a contract hire and want to put your fancy new registration plates on your car, it's worth giving your lease company a call for advice on how to do a plate transfer. As the leasing company is the registered keeper of the lease car, you can’t just stick the plate on! 

That being said, there’s almost no chance of a lease company having a problem with personalised registrations - it’s fairly common, so you don't need to fret over whether to buy or lease a car to get or keep your private number plate.

Sometimes you can organise to get the private plate on the financed car before it is delivered, along with other car lease extras. Some brokers don't like doing this as it adds to the delivery time to lease a new car.

If you contact the lease company and they’re happy to put the plate on the car, you’ll need to have the finance provider named as a ‘Nominee’ on your Certificate of Entitlement (V750). You can do this online.

You’ll then need to send this to your credit broker and they’ll contact the DVLA to get the plates assigned to the leased vehicle.

There’s likely to be an admin fee for this, which will ever so slightly bump up the cost to lease a car. This is typically less than £50, but varies from company to company. 

It’s important to note that you can’t legally display your plates on your car before you get the confirmation via mail from your leasing company and the DVLA. 

My lease contract is up - how do I get my plates back? 

If your lease is nearly up, you’re going to need to contact your finance provider again. We’d highly recommend doing this at least 2 months before returning a leased car to prevent any problems. 

You’ll then need to send the following to your finance company:

  • Payment for the DVLA for removing the plate from the car. This is currently £80.
  • Another admin fee. This is typically the same as the first one you paid to put the plate on (around £50). 
  • The documentation (V750) naming you as the registered owner of the plate. 

Once the DVLA has assigned a generic (or the original) car registration number to the new vehicle and you’ve sent all the requested documents, you’ll be able to swap the plates.

They'll also send you a retention document - it's important to keep a hold of this as it clearly identifies you as the registered keeper of the plate (not the car), making it a lot easier to put on your next new car.  

If you’ve still got time left on your lease contract but want your plates back sooner, check out our guide on ending a car lease early. If you're ending your contract as normal, see our guide to what happens at the end of a lease.

Summary: 

Personalised number plates aren’t cheap, but for many, they add an element of personality to their cars. 

There are loads of pros and cons of leasing a car, and one con is that you have little leeway for modifications. As we’ve shown, however, it’s relatively simple to apply your private number plate to your lease vehicle.

So if you’ve got a personalised number plate stuck in the garage gathering dust, why not compare car lease deals with us so you can find a brand new lease car to stick it on? We've rounded up the best personal car leasing and business car leasing deals on the UK market for you to compare. If you want to find out a little more about how car leasing works, be sure to read our guide first.

If you're splashing out on a fancy new private registration plate, you don't want to stick it on any old car. Check out our roundup of the best luxury cars!