Under The Road Traffic Act 1991, The Bus Lane Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005, and The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 and The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (General Provisions) ( Wales ) Regulations 2008 the person who is liable to pay any penalty issued in respect of a vehicle is its owner.
The owner may or may not be the person who was actually driving at the time. The fact that another person was driving the vehicle does not affect the owner's liability for any penalty.
The owner is presumed to be the registered keeper unless they prove otherwise. The council will check with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea to see who was registered as keeper of the vehicle at the date the penalty was issued. This person will receive the Notice to Owner.
The law requires that the DVLA is kept informed about the current keeper. If a motorist sells a vehicle and fails to complete the relevant part of the vehicle registration document (logbook), they may receive a Notice to Owner arising out of actions by the new owner.
The law relating to parking and bus lanes also says that the owner of a vehicle is the person by whom the vehicle is kept. The DVLA registers the keeper of the vehicle. The registered keeper is usually also the owner.
If a vehicle is removed or immobilised (clamped), the person who pays to have the vehicle released will be the person who may appeal.
Vehicles on short-term hire
There are special rules about hire vehicles. The hirer of a vehicle will be asked to sign an agreement (usually as part of the booking form/contract) including a statement of liability for penalty charges. In this case, the hirer will be liable for any penalties issued to the vehicle while it was on hire although they were not the owner. The requirements for such agreements are specific. They are contained in section 66 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic (Owner Liability) Regulations 2000.