How To Get Out Of A Car Lease

It is possible to get out of a car lease. Possible, but not always easy. Possible, but not always without damage to your credit score. Possible, but not always cheap.

keys If you have the cash flow in your budget, I believe keeping your word and paying for the lease until it ends is the honorable thing to do. But … what if there’s no way you can continue your lease? What if you lost your job? What if the lease is breaking you financially and you need to abandon it because other items (such as housing and food) are being neglected because of that crazy car lease? Read on.

Getting out of a car lease

Your first step is to go talk to your car dealer.Your dealer may be able to help you strike a deal to:

  • Lower your payments
  • Preserve your credit
  • Get you out of the car completely

Obviously if the deal will cost you more than the balance on the lease, you don’t want to go this route, but if your dealer is willing to work with you, there may be a way out. But beware: is WILL cost you something. The car dealer isn’t in the business for charity work.

If your dealer cannot work with you to get you out of your lease, consider a “lease swap.” Companies such as will connect you to a buyer who, for an incentive, will take over your car lease, allowing you to walk away with no liability and no penalties or obligations. Before you list your car with a lease swap company, it is vitally important to check with your leasing company to see if they will allow this type of transfer.

What is the “incentive?” That would be a steep discount. How steep will depend on:

  1. Your car
  2. How much is remaining on your lease
  3. How many miles you have on it
  4. The interest rate of your lease

So the answer is: it depends.

But if your budget can’t take it anymore, using Lease Trader might be a viable option. It will cost $75 to $100 to list your car, and then there will be a contract transfer fee that could be as much as $200 – possibly higher. Listing your lease doesn’t mean getting out of your lease is a slam dunk though. If you’re running close to your allotted mileage, you may find it difficult to to find a taker.

When you check out, be sure and click on “How IT Works” in the upper right hand of the home page. They can show you step by step what to do to get out of an existing car lease.

The last option is the least pretty. You can get out of your car lease by possibly surrendering your car to the leasing company. But you’re not really “getting out” of anything. The company will sell your car and proceed to sue you for the difference. Your credit score will take a hit and you may have a judgment filed against you or your wages garnished to pay for the shortfall.

Do you have any experience with getting out of a car lease? What did you do? What did you learn?

About the author

Ron has written 1086 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a partner in a national building materials company.

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