What End-of-Lease Charges Should I Expect?
When a lease on a car ends, it’s important to get out of the contract with the same care you took to getting into it.
You can use state and federal laws to your advantage and either return the car or buy it from the leasing company with a minimum of inconvenience. The best option depends on the car, whether you liked driving it and the willingness of the dealer and leasing company to negotiate.
Whatever you decide, make a decision six to eight weeks before the lease ends. That way, if you opt to return the car, you’ll have time to read the lease and comply with any end of lease provisions.
When you lease a car, you’re generally responsible for excess wear and damage, including broken or missing parts, dented body panels or trim, damaged fabric, cracked or broken glass, poor quality repairs, unsightly alterations, tire or wheel damage or less than 1/8-inch tread, or mechanical or electrical malfunctions. Most leasing companies will not penalize you for normal paint chips and scratches.
However, the specifics vary from company to company, so you have to check your lease. Under the New York State Motor Vehicle Retail Leasing Law, the lease is required to describe the type of damage for which you will be liable.
Before a leasing company can charge you for any excess wear and damage, it must provide you with an itemized bill and an itemized appraisal.
State law also gives you the right to challenge charges for excess wear and damage, especially if you have documentation that the car was turned in to the dealer in good condition. You can get more information about the NYS Excess Wear and Damage Arbitration Program on the Attorney General’s website.