Web sites offer car-lease swapping

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I have a lease on a vehicle with 20 of the initial 48 months still outstanding. I need to leave the country in about three month’s time for work obligations. Is there a Web source where I can advertise to get somebody to take over the lease? The vehicle is in mint condition and has low mileage.

There are a few online businesses specializing in helping vehicle lease holders find buyers to assume your lease — absolving you from any early termination penalties and transferring any remaining payments to the buyer. This service doesn’t come without a price, however. The service brokering the marriage between buyer and seller receives a fee and sometimes the seller must “sweeten the pot” by offering a cash bonus to the buyer. The service fees can vary from $50 to $250, depending on the service. The cash bonuses can run up into the hundreds of dollars.

First, you should read your lease document carefully to determine if it allows assumptions or transfers. If you have difficulty discovering the answer, call your leasing company. Explain your situation, and also determine exactly what the cost and penalties are for early termination of your lease. It may be less than you expect, but can be as much as the total of the outstanding remaining payments.

As the “seller” you must also take care that once the deal is complete, you are absolved of any and all responsibility for the vehicle. You don’t want any surprises, such as finding yourself responsible for payments if the “buyer” defaults, or for covering the costs of repairs if the vehicle is returned damaged at the end of the lease. Some lease companies will allow a lease holder to transfer the lease, but won’t remove the original holder’s name from the contract. That makes the original holder, you in this case, ultimately responsible.

You can find a number of car-lease brokers by using your Internet search engine to find “auto lease trades.”