How to Renegotiate a Car Lease

Whether you renegotiate a car loan or renegotiate a car lease, the process is essentially the same. You are asking your finance company for changes to a contract. In most cases, you are asking for changes that will benefit you and not the finance company. As a result, you will need to provide accurate and reasonable information to substantiate your request. 

Hardship Renegotiation

Perhaps the easiest form of renegotiation is a hardship request. In this scenario, the leaser has come into a financial emergency that will prevent him or her from continuing payment. The finance company evaluates this situation to determine if it can adjust terms of a lease to keep the contract alive while still saving itself from loss. If you have been laid off, experienced injury or illness, gone through a divorce or otherwise altered your ability to make payments, you can use this as a way to renegotiate your car lease. The finance company may offer lower payments in exchange for a longer lease. The finance company may also offer you a trade-in for an older model car that is more affordable.

Market Adjustment

It is much harder to get a finance company to adjust a lease due to current market conditions. For example, if you leased a car right before the car market bottomed out, you may be paying for too much for your lease. Today, you could go lease the exact same model for much less. Unfortunately, the lender is thrilled with your contract when you are not. Getting the leasing agent to agree to a term adjustment will require proof that you can exit the lease, find a new car, accept any fees for doing so and still save money. In this case, the leasing agent could stand to lose your business, and the company may be willing to negotiate.

Extension of a Lease

When your lease expires, you may want to extend it another few years. In this case, you should look for a dramatic drop in the lease cost because you are actually leasing an older model with more miles on it. Compare the cost of the lease quote to extend the program to the cost of purchasing the car out right. Remember to compare the cost to that of leasing a new car altogether. Use these comparisons to negotiate for the right price on your lease extension.

Early Termination of a Lease

Getting out of a lease early is much harder than extending a lease. If you no longer desire to fulfill your lease arrangement, you will have to pay a fee to turn the car in early. This can be called a "voluntary" repossession of the vehicle. The leasing agent may report this as a repossession to your credit score. To avoid this negative consequence, ask if you can take steps such as delivering the car yourself and paying a penalty. The cost of the penalty may be much less than the ultimate cost of having a repossession on your credit report. 

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