How to Swap a Car Lease

by Lily Welsh

Car leases are great for getting a lower monthly payment, but the trouble kicks in if you need to get out of your lease before it expires. Most car leases are written so it is next to impossible to break them, and even if you can get out, it will cost you a pretty penny in early termination fees. If you find yourself needing to get out of your lease, a lease swap could save you the expense and potential credit problems of breaking the lease. With a swap, someone else takes over your lease payments and you get to walk away from your car without a termination penalty.

Call your leasing company to discuss their lease swapping policy. Not every leasing company will allow you to assign your lease to another driver, and those companies that do may charge a lease transfer fee. Furthermore, according to Edmunds, approximately 10 percent of leasing companies won't let you fully off the hook for your lease, meaning they can come after you for payment if the new leaseholder defaults. Make sure you understand your company's policies.

Advertise your lease. There are a number of online lease swapping companies, including LeaseTrader and Swapalease, that help match people looking for someone to assume their lease with people in the market for a lease. These companies will typically handle the transaction for you, including making sure the potential new leaseholder has sufficient credit to qualify for the lease and managing the transfer with your leasing company. Transaction fees vary depending on the service you are using and the value of the car you are transferring. You can also advertise your lease privately in print and online classified ads. If you find someone to assume your lease that way, you will need to work with them and your leasing company to start the application process.

Complete the deal. Make sure you get written confirmation of the lease transfer from your leasing company. This confirmation should also state if you are still liable for any part of the lease or completely released from all liability. The exact procedure for obtaining this documentation depends on how the lease is transferred and your leasing company's policies.

Turn over your vehicle. If the new leaseholder does not live locally, they should make arrangements to pick up your car or use an auto shipping service to have the car delivered to them.

About the Author

Lily Welsh is a freelance writer from North Carolina, though she has spent much of her adult life living abroad. She is the About.com Guide to Music Careers, and her work appears frequently in other Web-based and print publications. Welsh has worked in the music industry for 15 years and counting and holds B.A.s in international studies and economics.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Luxury Car sportscar from my luxury car series image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com