What You Need To Know If You Have Lost Your Registration Papers?

What You Need To Know If You Have Lost Your Registration Papers?

motomatch / 7 October 2021

What to do if you’ve lost your car registration document

If you’re wanting to sell your car, you’re probably wondering what documents you need to have ready before you go through the process. The most import document (other than your ID, the contract, and your car’s service/repair history receipts) is the vehicle registration document.

So, what exactly is the vehicle registration paper?

Your car’s registration document, or, officially, the Certificate of Registration in Respect of Motor Vehicle, is a green certificate that is essentially the “title deed” to the car. It lists the owner by name, and also displays the particulars of the vehicle. Each registration certificate has a unique watermark as well, so that it cannot be duplicated. Basically, it’s like your car’s ID and it proves who the legal owner is. If you are the legal owner of a vehicle, then you should have this in your possession and safe-keeping – the exception to this is if you financed the car. If you took a loan to purchase the vehicle, the bank will retain the registration certificate until the loan is paid. You can request a copy of this document from the bank for your own records if you need to.

Can I sell my car without its registration papers?

The short answer is yes you can…if you manage to find a buyer who is willing to look past the fact that the car has no proof of ownership to hand and who is willing to do the heaps of admin it would take to prove that the car isn’t stolen, and then have it re-registered.

You cannot transfer ownership to someone else without papers. For a vehicle to legally change hands, the buyer needs to have the registration certificate, as well as a Change of Ownership form, completed by both parties. Again, this is very difficult to do if there is no registration document. Essentially, the buyer would need do a police clearance, weighing and road worthy in order to get the car re-registered into their name. It is a lot of admin, so it is unlikely that you will find a buyer who is happy to take this on. Even if they plan to have the car scrapped, the buyer will first need to prove that the car isn’t stolen before they can do that. The best thing to do, if you are wanting to sell your car, is to have the paperwork redrawn at the traffic department. See below for the process.

I’ve lost my car registration papers. What should I do?

This is a relatively painless process.

  1. Take your ID and Proof of Address (e.g., utility bill or account. If the utility bill is not in your name, you will need to get an affidavit from the account holder confirming you live at the address; if you stay in an informal settlement, you need to bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councilor confirming your address) to the local vehicle registration authority in your area.
  2. Complete the Declaration in Respect of Lost Documents (DCT) and the Duplicate Registration/Deregistration in Respect of Motor Vehicles (DRC) forms.
  3. Pay the fee (this may differ from province to province, so contact your local authority for costs).

The registering authority will issue you with the duplicate document – note that this could take up to seven days.

The bottom line is that if you are selling your vehicle, it’s better to have the car registration documents on-hand before you engage buyers. Most people who are looking to purchase a second-hand car are very skeptical about buying a car with no legitimate documentation. If you’ve lost your certificate of registration, rather have the document redrawn so that you can have peace of mind and a smooth selling process. It’s relatively easy and quick to do!