How to get out of a car lease

When money is tight, it’s easy to understand why someone might want to get out from under a costly car lease that still has two or three years to run.
Although I’m have leased several cars and trucks instead of purchasing — primarily to take advantage of the lower carrying costs on luxury brands.

Since when you lease, you are only paying for the portion of the car you actually use, your monthly payments are generally much lower than they would be for a loan of the same term — which is fine for me since I don’t ever plan to actually buy the car.

Sometimes though, my friends who lease, find themselves stuck in a hefty lease they can’t handle. I have helped them out of one or two. So I know what they go through when they find themselves trying to get out of a lease.

Whether you’ve been laid off, transferred out of the country or have hit a health hurdle, walking away from a lease is a lot like returning a weekly rental after just a few days. Like it or not, you’ll still end up paying out the full contract.
But what about subletting your vehicle in the meantime?

Most automakers now allow leases to be transferred from the original holder to secondary buyers, with the understanding that the new lessee bears the financial responsibility for the lease until it expires or is transferred again. If you’re looking to transfer your lease, you’ll have the best chance if your vehicle falls short of the kilometre limit in the contract and the original financing terms are still financially attractive — i.e., higher down payment, lower interest rate.

Each company is different but most will charge a hefty premium for each kilometre over the agreed upon limit. As a result, anyone who drives a lot won’t be interested in a swap, since they’ll be the ones stuck with penalty charges. In those cases where they’ve used up all their allotted kilometres or where the original lease was more expensive, the seller will usually have to sweeten the terms by offering a cash incentive, often thousands of dollars, to close the deal.

You don’t have to do this on your own, however. There are several companies offering matchmaking services to help you find others willing to pick up the remainder of your contract such as

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