Owner liability

Under the Traffic Management Act 2004 and the Transport Act 2000 the person who is liable to pay any Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) 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 authority who issued the PCN will check with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority(DVLA) 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 (NtO) or PCN through the post.

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.

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 PCNs. In this case, the hirer will be liable for any PCNs 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 andSchedule 2 to the Road Traffic (Owner Liability) Regulations 2000.