From February 1 next year, new rules aimed at ensuring only a legitimate vehicle keeper can obtain a vehicle tax disc mean a V5 document must be presented. This makes it vital for the appropriate part of the registration document to be passed on to the buyer when the vehicle is sent to auction or sale, or it could lead to significantly reduced bids.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association warns the changes will create major upheaval for all fleets.
A spokeswoman said: 'The new re-licensing procedures will undoubtedly result in delays and logistical difficulties unless steps are taken to ensure that the V5 accompanies the vehicle at all times as it passes through the motor trade.'
Tom Madden, customer affairs director at BCA, said: 'Once the new V5 legislation comes into effect buyers will be actively seeking out vehicles that are complete with the appropriate documents.
'Where vehicles are offered without documents, professional buyers will be wary of the delay and hassle, while private buyers may be more reluctant to bid at all. Fleet managers have a duty to maximise the returns to their company and must ensure they take steps to provide the documentation with the vehicle when it is sold.'
Martin Potter, corporate sales director with Manheim Auctions, said: 'This could damage a car's residual value by a few hundred pounds.'
A spokesman for the DVLA pointed out that the existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) electronic fleet relicensing scheme which permits operators with more than 1,000 cars/light vans less than three years-old to be relicensed electronically would be largely unaffected.