How to Get Out of a Lease Without Paying

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Depending how far you are into your lease, you may be able to sell the leased vehicle for its payoff amount. Or, you can transfer your lease to an interested party if your bank allows it. Getting out of a lease is not usually a quick and easy process, but it can be done if you allow some time for a sale or lease transfer.

Sell Your Leased Vehicle

  • Check your odometer and write down the exact mileage. Call your bank to ask for your lease purchase amount and provide your current mileage. Write the buyout figure down, as this is the amount you'll need to sell your vehicle for.

  • Go to the following websites to determine your leased vehicle's worth: Edmunds.com, KBB.com and NADAGuides.com. NADA is for dealer trade-in amounts, which is in an option if you plan to purchase or lease a new car. Compare your vehicle's value to your payoff amount and prepare to sell or trade your car if the figures are close. Otherwise, you'll have to come up with the difference.

  • Go to a dealership to trade your leased vehicle for a new or used car, if you prefer. The dealership will handle the lease payoff, a new finance or lease account and all applicable paperwork. Otherwise, clean your vehicle entirely for its sale.

  • Advertise your lease wherever applicable. Autotrader.com, Craigslist.org or eBayMotors.com will reach buyers searching for a used car. Provide as many pictures as possible for your advertisement and any details about your vehicle that will help it sell, such as year, make, model, color, options (such as sunroof or leather) and overall condition.

  • Meet with potential buyers until you have one who would like to buy your car. Contact your leasing bank for further instruction, as you'll need to send the payoff amount to the bank to obtain the title and lien release for your buyer. Once you have all transfer paperwork, contact your state motor vehicle's department to ensure state procedures and complete your sale.

Lease Assumption

  • Call your bank to find out if you can transfer your lease to another party. Some banks allow you to do so free of charge, while some do not allow for a transfer at all. Ask for an explanation of the paperwork and transfer procedures so you know what to expect for the transfer.

  • Advertise your lease as a lease transfer, or lease assumption. Go to LeaseTrader.com or Swapalease.com to target people who are looking for a lease transfer. Or, you can advertise your lease through any automotive classified publications (online or in print).

  • State the current mileage and total mileage allowed on your vehicle, the monthly payment and months of payment left for the lease. Clean your vehicle completely and provide pictures of the car, along with applicable vehicle information, such as year, make, model, level and options.

  • Work with the Swapalease website or LeaseTrader website to transfer your lease, if using either. Both companies provide assistance with paperwork and the total transfer process. Sign any necessary documents to transfer the lease, and complete the transfer by following the bank's or website representative's instructions.

  • Call your bank to start the lease transfer process if transferring on your own, which includes an application from the potential buyer. Follow all instructions from your bank, including notarizing signatures, filling out and returning paperwork or providing paperwork to your buyer.

  • Find out when the lease application is accepted and all paperwork is completed and received by the bank by answering the bank's phone calls or calling to check in. Provide the new lessee with the vehicle after removing your plates, once the bank has confirmed the completion of paperwork.

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