Skip to main content

If life throws you a curveball and you end up needing to get out of your car lease early, then you do have some options. One option is to return the lease early, but you might end up paying a lot in penalties for it, so an easier way is to swap the lease over to someone else that can handle the payments. But is swapping your lease worth the effort?

If you want to swap your lease, what you do first?

If are currently leasing a car and would like to transfer it to someone else to take over the payments, then you first need to call your leasing company and find out if they allow lease transfers. Some leasing companies, Kia, Hyundai, and Subaru Finance don’t allow lease transfers, while others have rules regarding them. For example, you might not be allowed to transfer your lease within the first 12 months that you have it.

One important part to note is that in some lease swap cases, you might still be responsible for the car if the new owner totals it or stops making the payments. Also, the leasing company may impose a fee for transferring the lease and may also want to check the new lessee’s credit.

Trading in your vehicle
Swap your car lease | LorenzoPatoia/Getty Images

How does a lease swap work?

When you’re sure that you can swap your lease, the next is to find someone to transfer it to. One of the easiest ways to do this is to check out a lease-swapping website like Swapalease or Leasetrader, both of which are basically like matchmakers for lease swaps. They match up people that are looking to get out a lease with someone who wants to take one over.

According to Market Watch, another option would be to find someone on Craigslist or perhaps a friend or family member that would want to take over your lease. When you do find someone to take over your lease, the new lessee will need to undergo a credit check with either the leasing company or lease swap website in order to ensure that they are financially fit to take over the lease.

If the new lessee does qualify, then you both will need to fill out the lease transfer paperwork and then the new lessee will need to register the car in his or her name and pay any related fees and taxes.

Cars stand on display for sale at a Mercedes-Benz dealership during the coronavirus crisis
Mercedes-Benz models available for lease at a dealership | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Benefits of a lease swap

If you end up swapping your lease and your leasing company doesn’t hold you liable for the lease anymore, then you can simply just walk away and move on with your life. And on the other end, if you’re a new lessee that’s taken over a lease, then you just acquired a short-term lease that has a lower payment than if you were to lease a new car for one to two years. Ultimately, a lease swap is beneficial for all of the parties involved, including the leasing company, because the car is still getting leased by someone else.

Factors to consider if you take over a lease

If you are intending to take over someone’s lease, there are some factors to think about before doing so. First, there is a mileage cap on all leases, so if the lease that you take over is close to the mileage cap, then you will have fewer miles to drive before you start to incur overage costs (typically 15 to 25 cents per mile).

Second, you will need to access the vehicle’s condition. Just because the previous lessee only had the car for a year, it doesn’t mean that they took the greatest care of it. You may want to consider getting an inspection done and at least checking the vehicle’s history report to see if there it has any accidents or even a branded title.

Lastly, keep in mind that there may be other costs involved with taking over a lease. These costs can include obvious ones like fuel and insurance, while less obvious costs could be lease transfer fees and sales tax. Either way, you’ll be paying more than just the monthly payment. However, you will at least be able to use a car that you want for a short term and lower payments.


How to Get Out of a Car Lease Early