How to Get Out of a Car Lease: Tips, Tricks, & Options

Written by Ashley FranklinUpdated: 6th Mar 2022
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If you’re feeling trapped by your car lease, you’re not alone. Many people feel stuck in leases they can’t afford or no longer want. The good news is that there are ways out of a car lease – it just takes some research and planning.

In this article, we’ll outline the different options available to you when trying to get out of a car lease. We’ll also provide tips on making the process go as smoothly as possible. So, if you’re ready to start planning your escape, keep reading!

Can You End a Car Lease Term Early?

So, you’re thinking about getting out of your car lease? It’s a big decision, and there are a few things you should know before making up your mind.

The first thing you need to do is determine if you’re even able to break your lease. Most car leases have a clause that states the lessee cannot terminate the contract before the end of the term unless there is a significant life event, such as job loss or relocation.

However, there are ways around this. We will further discuss these options below, but if you’re currently unable to continue your lease for any reason, it’s crucial to begin planning. You may want to reach out to your leasing company and explain the situation; they may be willing to work with you. If not, follow the steps below to begin the process of terminating your lease.

How Can You Get Out of a Car Lease Without Penalty?

There are various ways to get out of a car lease without penalty. For example, if you can prove that you have suffered a major life event, you may be able to terminate your lease early. You can also try negotiating with your car dealership. Some dealerships may be willing to let you out of your lease if you can provide evidence that you cannot make the payments.

How to Get Out of a Car Lease

The list of tips below is not exhaustive, but it will give you an excellent place to start if you’re trying to get out of a car lease.

Be sure to research your options. Planning ahead will save you both time and money.

#1. Transfer Your Lease

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to break your lease, or if you’re unable to do so, your next best option is to find someone who will take over your lease. This process is known as leasing transfer or lease assumption.

There are a few things to keep in mind when transferring a lease:

  • The person taking over the lease must meet the requirements of the leasing company.
  • There may be a transfer fee, which is usually around $300.
  • The new lessee will be responsible for any damages to the car.

If you can find someone to take over your lease, the process is relatively simple. You’ll need to fill out a transfer form and provide proof of insurance. You may also be responsible for getting the car inspected.

#2. Early Lease Termination

If you can’t find someone to take over your lease or don’t want to go through the hassle of transferring it, your next option is to terminate the lease early.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • Job Loss – If you’ve lost your job, you may be able to terminate your lease early. You’ll need to provide documentation from your employer that shows you were laid off or terminated.
  • Relocation – If you’re relocating for work or military reasons, you may be able to terminate your lease early. You’ll need to provide a copy of your orders or a letter from your employer stating the relocation date.
  • Medical Reasons – If you or a family member has been diagnosed with a severe illness, you may be able to terminate your lease early. You’ll need to provide a doctor’s note or other documentation from a medical professional.
  • Death – If the car’s primary driver dies, the lessee is usually allowed to terminate the lease without penalty.

Once you’ve determined that you meet one of the qualifications for early lease termination, you’ll need to provide written notice to your leasing company. Again, be sure to include all relevant information, such as your name, address, and vehicle information. You may also be required to send a copy of your driver’s license or proof of insurance.

If you cannot provide any of the required documentation, your leasing company may still be willing to work with you. They may be able to accept a letter from your doctor or employer instead.

#3. Return Your Leased Vehicle and Pay the Penalty

If you don’t want to transfer your lease or terminate it early, your last option is to simply return the car and pay the termination fee. This option can be costly, so it’s usually only used as a last resort.

The termination fee will vary depending on your leasing company and the state where you live. It can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Be sure to read your lease agreement carefully to know exactly what you’re responsible for. In most cases, you’ll be required to return the car in the same condition it was in when you leased it. This means you’ll likely need to pay for any damages or excessive wear and tear.

#4. Buy Your Car

If you can afford it, the best option is to buy your leased car outright. This will allow you to avoid any penalties or fees associated with early termination or lease transfer. However, this may involve getting an auto loan.

Keep in mind that the price of a leased car will usually be higher than the purchase price. You’ll also need to come up with a down payment, which can be a significant amount of money.

If you decide to buy your leased car, be sure to work with a reputable dealer. They will be able to help you negotiate a fair price and get the best financing possible.

>> More: See the Best Auto Loan Lenders

#5. Ask Your Leasing Company for Help

If you cannot make your car payments, it’s essential to reach out to your leasing company and explain the situation. They may be willing to work with you if you can provide a reasonable explanation.

Your leasing company may be able to offer you a payment extension or reduced monthly payments. They may also be willing to waive late fees or penalties.

The sooner you act, the more options you’ll have. So, if you’re struggling to make your car payments, don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead, contact your leasing company today and see what they can do to help.

Is It a Good Idea to Get Out of a Car Lease Early?

There are a few situations where it may make sense to get out of a car lease early.

If you’ve lost your job, you’re relocating, or you have a family member who’s been diagnosed with a serious illness, terminating your lease may be the best option.

Remember that getting out of a car lease can be costly, so it’s crucial to weigh your options carefully.

Bottom Line: How to Get Out of a Car Lease Early

If you’re feeling trapped by your car lease, there are ways out – it just takes some research and planning. Breaking a car lease can be a costly and frustrating experience. But by doing your research and planning, you can avoid most of the headaches.

Be sure to read your lease agreement carefully to understand the terms and conditions. And if you’re unsure about what to do, contact your leasing company for help. They may be able to offer you a payment extension or reduced monthly payments.

If all else fails, remember that there are still options available to you. However, you need to be flexible and work with your leasing company to find the best solution.

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Ashley Franklin
Ashley Franklin

Ashley Franklin is a professional writer and financial literacy expert. Ashley double-majored in Computer Science and Communications, and she brings her talents to the forefront with writing about personal finance and investing. Having worked with renowned international websites and publications, Ashley has found that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to financial management. That’s why her articles are all about finding what works for you.