How to Return a Leased Car Early

So you decided to lease a car instead of buying it because the monthly payments were less...What you didn't realize was that had you purchased the car, it would have been a lot easier to get rid of, even though you still had payments to make. Instead, you're faced with walking away in the middle of the lease, and that's difficult to do. If you have to get out from under the liability by breaking your automobile lease, consider this.


Step 1

Consider transferring your automobile lease to someone else by talking with a company that finds individuals willing to take over the balance of your lease. See Additional Resources for web sites of these companies. Each of them will charge a fee, but it probably will be small in comparison to the remaining monthly payments that you would have to pay. Unless you are leasing an expensive car with tons of accessories, you can expect them to find a replacement lessee fairly quickly.


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Step 2

Check with the dealer that sold you your car lease to learn of their rules regarding the transfer of your lease. Some of them hesitate allowing you to do that, particularly if it is early in the lease; others will not allow it at all. Remember, the dealer is likely to come back to you if the person replacing you on the lease fails to make the monthly payments. In other words, you are liable until the lease is concluded.


Step 3

Consider negotiating with the dealer regarding replacing the car with a less expensive model. This is possible if the car you current lease has kept its value better than the dealer thought or you are close to the termination of the lease. If you are able to lease a less expensive car, your monthly payments should be less.


Step 4

Take the car back to the dealership and see what they can do to help you break the lease. Chances are that doing so will cost you a lot of money, unless you put a considerable amount toward the lease at its inception or you are near the end of the lease and the car has maintained its value. As a general rule, most dealers will sell your car at auction and the proceeds will be less than if the dealer were to sell it. The dealer then will determine the amount remaining on your lease, reduce it by the proceeds and the remainder will be due from you.


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