how to get out of a car lease

How To Get Out Of A Car Lease

Are you feeling stuck in your car lease and looking for a way out?

Whether you’re experiencing financial hardship, desire a vehicle upgrade, or need to adjust to unforeseen circumstances, terminating your lease early might be the solution.

In this guide on how to get out of a car lease, we’ll explore various options such as early termination, lease transfer, and lease buyout.

Tips: We will also provide tips for successfully exiting your auto agreement without damaging your credit score or facing hefty penalties.

Key Takeaways

  • Early termination of a car lease can result in financial penalties and fees, so it’s important to carefully evaluate the costs before deciding.
  • Lease transfer or assumption can be a viable option for getting out of a car lease early without negatively affecting credit score or incurring a significant financial loss.
  • Before making any decisions about exiting your lease agreement prematurely, make sure to understand all contract terms and consult with professionals as needed.
  • Exiting a car lease early may come with potential risks and costs such as negative equity, credit score impact, legal consequences, and more. It’s important to consider these factors before deciding on an exit strategy.

Options For Getting Out Of A Car Lease Early

Consider early termination or lease transfer as options for getting out of a car lease before the contract ends.

Tip: Before exploring the options below, it’s advisable to reach out to your dealer or schedule routine service for your car. While you’re there, inquire if the dealer is interested in terminating your lease early on their behalf, rather than on your end.


Cars returning early from a lease will typically have low mileage and a detailed service record, making them prime candidates to be sold as “Certified Used Cars” by the dealership, and Certified cars are very lucrative for car dealers!

Early Termination

Ending your car lease early through early termination is one option to consider when looking for ways to get out of a binding agreement. This process involves returning the leased vehicle to the leasing company before the end of your contract term.

For example, you may be required to pay an early termination fee which could range from a few hundred dollars up to thousands, depending on factors like remaining lease duration and the vehicle’s residual value.

In addition, you might also be responsible for any outstanding payments or excess mileage charges accrued during your time with the vehicle.

Lease Transfer

Lease Transfer

A Lease transfer, also known as a lease assumption, is a popular and viable option for individuals looking to get out of their car lease early without incurring hefty penalties or negatively affecting their credit score.

This process involves finding another person interested in taking over the remaining payments and responsibilities associated with your existing lease agreement.

Several online platforms like can facilitate this lease transfer process by connecting you with potential buyers seeking short-term leases or more favorable monthly payments than what they might find through traditional leasing options.

It’s important to remember that not all leasing companies allow transfers, so review your contract terms carefully before moving forward.

Additionally, keep in mind that some fees may be associated with transferring a lease – such as credit application fees or transfer charges – but these costs are generally much lower compared to early termination fees.

Lease Buyout

Opting for a lease buyout is another viable strategy to get out of a car lease early.

A Lease Buyout involves paying off the remaining balance on your monthly payments along with any associated early termination fees.

To determine if a lease buyout is an appropriate choice, start by contacting your leasing company and requesting details about the total cost involved in buying out the remainder of your contract.

Assess any potential savings or advantages gained from vehicle ownership, such as no longer being responsible for excess mileage fees or wear-and-tear charges at the end of a traditional lease term.

Additionally, you may choose to sell or trade in the purchased vehicle once it’s yours outright – providing yet another way to recoup some of those costs while ending your car lease obligation successfully.

Tips For Successfully Exiting A Car Lease

Navigating the process of terminating a car lease early can be challenging. However, with a clear understanding of your lease contract terms, careful timing, and a thorough evaluation of your options, you can successfully exit your car lease. Here’s how:

1. Deciphering Your Lease Contract Terms

The first step towards a successful car lease exit is to understand the terms and conditions of your lease agreement fully. This includes:

  • Early Termination Penalties: Familiarize yourself with the potential penalties for terminating your lease early. These could include fees and charges that may significantly impact your financial planning.
  • Outstanding Lease Payments: Determine how much you still owe on the lease. This will help you assess the financial implications of ending your lease early.
  • Additional Expenses: Be aware of any extra costs that may arise from prematurely ending your contract, such as wear and tear or excess mileage charges.

2. Timing and Cost Considerations

Exiting a car lease early often involves costs and fees. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your exit strategy carefully. The timing of your lease termination can significantly impact the penalties you may face. While exiting your lease early might be financially beneficial, it’s crucial to consider potential impacts on your credit score and any legal consequences.

Remember, negotiation is always an option. Discussing buyout prices or lease transfer options with your dealership or leasing company could help reduce overall costs.

3. Evaluating Your Lease Exit Options

Before deciding to terminate your car lease early, it’s crucial to explore all available options. These may include:

  • Lease Buyout: Buying out the lease and selling the car privately could potentially result in a profit or at least allow you to break even.
  • Payment Adjustments: If you’re experiencing financial hardship, consider negotiating to lower or suspend payments temporarily. This could provide some relief without completely terminating your lease agreement.

Remember, each option has its own set of considerations, such as timing and costs. Therefore, it’s important to weigh each one carefully before making a decision.

Potential Risks And Costs Of Exiting A Lease

Exiting a car lease early may come with potential risks and costs, such as early termination fees, negative equity, credit score impact, and legal consequences.

Early Termination Fees

When considering terminating a car lease early, it is crucial to be aware of the potential costs involved.

Most lease agreements include an early termination fee that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the lessor’s policies and terms.

In addition to this fee, there may also be other costs, such as disposition fees, excess mileage charges, and wear-and-tear penalties.

Before making any decisions about ending your car lease prematurely, carefully review your contract and talk with your leasing company about their specific policies regarding early termination fees and any additional expenses you may incur.

Negative Equity

When you lease a car, the leasing company estimates its future residual value and bases your monthly payments on the car.

Unfortunately, this estimated value may be less than the actual worth of your vehicle at the end of your lease term.

If so, you are in negative equity territory and owe more than what the car is worth at that time. When terminating a lease early, there is a risk of grossly overpaying for a new lease if the dealer adds negative equity to it.

Negative equity can also occur when you roll over an outstanding balance on an old car loan into a new one or if market values drop significantly during ownership.

Credit Score Impact

One of the biggest concerns for those looking to get out of a car lease early is how breaking the lease could impact their credit score.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, as it largely depends on how you exit your lease and whether or not you continue to make payments.

If you simply stop making payments and default on your lease, it can significantly damage your credit history and make it difficult to secure future loans or leases.

However, if you work with your leasing company to terminate the agreement early and pay any associated fees, the effect on your credit score may be less severe.

Legal Consequences

Before you decide to break your car lease prematurely, it’s crucial to consider the potential legal consequences.

When you sign a lease agreement, you are entering into a legally binding contract, and breaking it can lead to penalties or even legal action from the leasing company.

Depending on the terms of your contract, you may be required to pay hefty fees for early termination or face negative consequences on your credit score.

Additionally, if you do not properly follow the procedures for ending a lease agreement, such as transferring ownership or returning the vehicle to an authorized location in good condition, there could be further legal repercussions.



Getting out of a car lease early can be daunting, but it is certainly possible. Remember to explore all your options, such as early termination, lease transfer, and buyout, before you make any decisions.

It’s important to keep in mind the potential risks and costs associated with exiting a car lease before taking any steps. Make sure you understand all the contract terms and consult with professionals if necessary.

By following the tips outlined above, you will be well equipped to successfully exit your car lease without ruining your credit or facing legal consequences.

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Steve is a former licensed car dealer located in the State of Florida.  He has many years of experience buying, selling, and working on cars mechanically and started Autohitch to help buyers and Sellers navigate the complex lands of Car Buying.