DVLA (UK Law) says this vehicle is not a camper-van?
I read so many times articles from people that have tried to re-register their vehicle as a camper-van after having completed a conversion. To be fair some do look like vans with windows and without closer inspection I couldn’t say for sure whether they were camper-vans or not. What I did learn is that almost everyone seems to have failed in their quest to seek reclassification. It seems to be almost impossible to get DVLA to reclassify a vehicle as a camper-van. In fact at the time of writing I haven’t been able to find a single person that has succeeded in this quest.
The new law states that the vehicle needs to include items such as a fixed bed, cooker, table etc and also have two or more windows down one side of the vehicle. Perhaps the main feature that the people at DVLA are looking for is that the vehicle must look like a camper-van, in other words not look like a work van with windows, perhaps something that the Police can easily recognize as being either a commercial vehicle or a leisure vehicle at a glance.
According to the DVLA my vehicle cannot be recognized as being a camper-van and for example if someone was to see it on a road or parked up, then they would not be able to distinguish it from a commercial vehicle. This is not my opinion but the opinion of the DVLA who has reclassified the vehicle as a “van with windows” and as such not to be confused with a camper-van or leisure vehicle. I find that difficult to understand along with the hundreds maybe well over a thousand vehicle owners that have also failed to have their vehicle reclassified.
What is a van with windows? The exact term on the DVLA V5C is as follows – Body Type: Van/Side Windows – Taxation Class: Light Goods Vehicle. The term means that the vehicle is registered for carrying light goods and thus should be treated as such although it is not illegal to carry people nor to sleep or cook inside it.
The DVLA reclassification form is fairly basic. It has a list of requirements that need to be ticked off. Most of the list is definitive, its basically black or white, for example either you have a fixed bed and cooker or you dont etc. One area that’s wide open for different interpretations is the exterior of the vehicle and whether the graphics and external appearance is that of a camper-van. DVLA hold all the cards here, what they says goes and that may well not be right or fair as I will explain. I cannot find any rules that state the external graphics need to be of a certain shape, size colour or location. What this means is that the judgement lies solely on the perception of the person at the DVLA judging the vehicle at the time.
MOT: When I took my vehicle for its MOT after the conversion I hadn’t submitted my reclassification form to DVLA nor did I mention to the MOT tester that I planned to do so. What I found was that the MOT testing station had tested the vehicle as a Category 4 vehicle (any goods vehicle not exceeding 3000 kg) or camper-van or motor-home. The MOT testing station were unable to distinguish it as anything other than a camper-van, yet DVLA can. The reason is not plain to see, which thus raises the question. What is the benchmark that the DVLA uses and why isn’t this benchmark being offered to the public for them to work from? My guess? There isn’t a benchmark as such, the visual judgement is at the discretion of the DVLA viewer at that time.
Rather than turn this article into an article of complaint, instead I will depart here with the following scenario. If a UK Traffic Police Officer was to report the vehicle for an offense would he/she state that they had witnessed a camper-van or witnessed a light goods vehicle ie a commercial vehicle, (work vehicle)? Its perhaps farcical to assume but if we imagine it went to court and when questioned the Police stated…. “I was surprised to find out it was a camper-van and people were living inside, I assumed it was a commercial goods vehicle and that the 15 foot awning on the roof wasn’t an awning”….Its farcical I know but perhaps the whole DVLA system is. Until we have more transparency and better clarification I believe many more people will be refused classification. Next time I meet a police officer I will certainly ask the question, in your honest opinion is this a work, commercial vehicle or camper-van ie leisure vehicle?
How to change from a “Camper-Van” …. into a…. “Lights Goods Vehicle“: A) Removed Table inside, complete DVLA form and submit.
What to do if you cannot get your vehicle classified as a camper-van: You could re-apply of course or you could go to one of the specialist insurance companies that are well aware of the DVLA issues. Well established companies such as Adrian Flux Insurance are agents for insurers/underwriters that are able to judge for themselves whether the vehicle is being used for leisure or commercial use. In other words they are willing to ignore the DVLA classification and insure the vehicle as what “they” term it as. You may need to send images as proof. According to my insurance company, and I told them the vehicle is classified as a goods-vehicle with windows by DVLA, my insurers have recognized the vehicle as a camper-van regardless of what the DVLA says it is and have insured it as such. (see link below)