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How to Get Out of a Car Lease Early

Education | 08/29/2021 22:00

Plans change, things happen, and unexpected events can throw us totally off-course from what we thought we needed in our daily lives. When it comes to the terms of your auto agreement, a lease might have seemed like an apt solution at one point; yet, due to circumstances out of your control, being in a car lease no longer makes sense for you.

Fear not, millions of people find themselves in a similar predicament throughout the year, which is why it’s not uncommon to want to learn how to get out of a car lease contract early.

It’s no secret that figuring out how to get out of a car lease agreement early can be a costly and lengthy process. But, you have options at your disposal that can make the entire experience more bearable, and we’re here to discuss them with you today. Whether you lost your job and can no longer afford the payments, or you need to outright own your vehicle for whatever reason, it’s time to investigate the alternatives that can put you into a better financial situation. 

Based on our research, we are going to provide you with 3 potential options below.

How to Get Out of a Car Lease Early: 3 Routes

1. Terminate the Lease Early:

In many arrangements, your leasing company will offer you the ability to terminate your lease prematurely. This means you are free from making the remaining payments on the currently leased vehicle. But, in order to do this, you will have to turn in the car and pay the entire balance that is due, as well as the costs and fees that are probably going to be slapped onto the early termination. Remember that the Consumer Leasing Act does mandate that all of these details are included and available for you to review in the lease you have on record.

So, let’s say you go for this option. The company may charge an early termination fee, which is normally the balance between the remaining balance and the credit you will receive from the value of the car. You may also have to pay a disposal fee, transfer fee, and taxes. All of this is disclosed inside of the signed lease.

The fastest way to know what this total is going to be is to call up the leasing company and ask them point-blank what the total is going to be. You may also have to pay late fees, parking tickets, or anything else that has been accumulated as part of your leasing account.

Since a car’s value typically depreciates more upfront, the earlier you terminate the lease, the higher the cost is going to be on your end. In many cases, the termination cost may be so high, that it makes more sense for you to complete the lease as agreed upon. 

If you don’t have the financial means to do this, you may need to finance the costs if it’s a life-or-death decision.

2. Transfer the Lease:

As you can see, terminating the lease may not be the most cost-effective option for you at this time. But you have another option: transferring the lease to a new lessee. In order to engage in this option, it needs to be one that is legal in your state, in accordance with your lease terms, and the party you are transferring the lease to needs to satisfy the requirements set forth by the lender.

Don’t be fooled: this option will still come with hidden fees, like the lease transfer fee and other costs that will pop up. You should do your due diligence and ask for a final total from the leasing company before you opt for the early termination. If you are struggling to find a company that you can transfer your lease to, you can consider using a service that connects you to a new lender.

3. Buying Out Your Lease:

Depending upon the scenario, buying out the car entirely may be one of your best options with early termination. Yes, there are still fees involved; but, it’s worth running the numbers and seeing if an early buyout, along with the associated fees, comes in at a lower amount of what you could get if you go through with selling the car on your own. Or at least, if selling the car thereafter is still a feasible financial option when compared to the other two options listed above.

Do note: in order to pursue this solution, you need to have the funds available to pay the early buyout fees. If you don’t, you will need to factor in buyout financing as part of the deal.

If the market value of the car ends up being higher than the leasing company predicted it would be, a lease buyout may be the perfect solution for you and your wallet.

Bonus: if you are leasing or purchasing another car when you terminate the car lease early, you may be able to roll over the amount you owe on the car you are returning to the amount you are financing for a new car purchase. This will create a higher monthly payment, but it at least will be one singular payment that may be easier for you to manage and pay off.

Is it a Good Idea to Get Out of a Car Lease Prematurely?

In many cases, you may have no other choice. If you go through all scenarios above and receive quotes, you can compare them and see which one makes sense. If all three options still clock in higher than your monthly leasing payment, you may want to consider financing – or – sticking with your car lease until the contract is terminated.

Note: many people buy out their leases to avoid excess mileage fees, especially if you drive more than was agreed upon initially, or because used car values have increased recently, making your current vehicle worth more than the dealer thought it would be several years ago.

The worst thing you can do is agree to one of these options without hearing the final monetary amount, first. Don’t be afraid to demand that from your leasing company: it’s a service they owe you as your lessee. 

Are you ready to get out of a car lease contract early? We hope this article helped.


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