What Happens At The End Of A Car Lease?

handing back car keys at the end of a lease

What Happens At The End Of A Car Lease?

At the end of a lease contract, you simply hand back the car to the finance company who collect it for free. If the vehicle is in good condition, you will not pay damage charges. You can then choose a new lease agreement on your next car or look elsewhere.

 

Arranging Vehicle Collection

Vanarama will contact you a few months before your agreement ends to discuss your options & help you find a new lease deal.

Your designated Account Manager will also arrange the vehicle's inspection & appoint a representative to obtain the vehicle at a time & place that suits you.

When book your vehicle's collection, you will need to provide your:

  • Car's registration number.
  • Collection address.
  • Preferred date & time.
  • Contact name & number.

Plus, if you take up another deal, you can get your new car delivered at the same time, avoiding a lengthy wait.

Read on to learn how prepare your vehicle for collection with our handy checklist below.

 

Returning A Leased Car Checklist

  • Read The BVRLA Guidelines
    Ask your leasing company for a copy of the BVRLA Fair Wear & Tear guidelines to help you identify any serious damage which goes beyond the standard wear & tear expectations.

  • Check The Exterior
    Thoroughly inspect the paintwork for damage (such as scratches) at least 2 months before your collection is due, so you have time to get it repaired before returning the car. Don't forget to examine the wheels too as alloys can be scuffed easily.

  • Examine The Interior
    Check over your upholstery for any stains or bad odours, plus make sure the dashboard features & equipment are all working properly.

  • Have The Car Professionally Cleaned
    Paying for a valet service is important to ensure the vehicle can be inspected properly.

  • Remove All Personal items
    Make sure to remove all your possessions from the car.

  • Organise Your Paperwork
    You will need your original documents, service history & a valid MOT certificate (if required). Don't forget to bring all sets of keys along too.

 

Does The Car Need To Be In Perfect Condition?

We would never expect a lease car to be returned in brand-new condition. Wear & tear on a vehicle you've been driving for up to 5 years is expected & no one will expect your vehicle to look like it's fresh from the showroom.

All you need to do is keep it in good shape – ideally, as close as you can to the car's original condition.

 

What Happens If I've Damaged The Car?

All reputable leasing companies will follow the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) Fair Wear & Tear guidelines when inspecting your car. If you have been in an accident or incident which caused serious damage to the vehicle, you will be expected to pay for the repair.

 

Examples Of Acceptable Fair Wear & Tear

  • Small scratches on the windscreen which are outside of the driver's line of sight.
  • Worn tyre tread depth but no more than the legal minimum requirement of 1.6mm.
  • Light scuffs on the bodywork which are no larger than 25mm.
  • Slight wear on upholstery from normal use.

 

Examples Of Unacceptable Fair Wear & Tear

  • Chips in the windscreen glass.
  • Tyres with a tread depth less than 1.6mm.
  • Multiple deep dents on a single panel of the exterior.
  • A permanent stain to the upholstery.

 

Take a look at our guide to car wear and tear for more informaton on exactly what is and isn't acceptable.

 

Can You Dispute End-Of-Car-Lease Charges?

You have the right to dispute any charges with any lease company who is a member of the BVRLA. However, you must pay an independent engineer who is not related to either party to re-examine the leased vehicle.

This engineer's assessment is final, & you can't appeal again if the decision does not go in your favour. However, if the engineer agrees with your dispute, the examination costs will be fully refunded.

 

What Happens If I Exceed My Mileage Limit?

If you go over your total annual mileage allowance, you will be charged on a pence-per-mile basis. This pence-per-mile cost is different depending on the finance company & the exact amount will be outlined in your contract.

Excess mileage charges are there to compensate for any extra depreciation you put on the vehicle. Leasing companies use your expected mileage to work out the car's residual value (how much it will be worth at the end of your contract term). This also affects the price of your deal, so it's important you don't exceed your mileage limit because the car will depreciate further the more you drive.

Remember that your allowance is pooled over the course of your agreement, so even if you choose 15,000 miles per year for a 3-year agreement, you can drive 45,000 miles in total. It wouldn't be a problem if you drove 10,000 miles one year, 20,000 miles the next & 15,000 miles in the final year.

Find out everything you need to know about excess mileage and charges in our handy guide.

 

Do You Get The Deposit Back At The End Of A Car Lease?

With a lease you never pay a deposit, so there is nothing to refund. The first payment you make will be your initial rental which is part of your overall lease cost, & the more you pay as part of this initial rental, the cheaper your monthly instalments will be.

 

Returning A Lease Car Early

If you want to end your lease early, you will need to pay a termination fee to the finance company. This is normally 50% of the total remaining rentals left.

For example, if you are paying £300 a month & have a year left on your lease, you would need to pay £1,800 to cancel your agreement early.

If you can no longer afford your monthly rentals, get in touch with us so we can help. We can also provide you with a no-obligation quote for your termination fee, giving you time to consider your options & decide if cancelling is the best thing for you financially.

 

Returning A Lease Car Late

The leasing company will contact you before your agreement ends to book a time & place for collection. That way, you don't need to worry about bringing the car back yourself.

However, if for some reason you miss the arranged collection date & the car can't be picked up, you may be charged a late fee. This will be outlined in your contract or you can discuss the charges with your Account Manager.

 

Can I Extend My Contract?

If your lease is ending but you are still enjoying the car, contact the lease company. They might extend the term, but this is not guaranteed. You will not be able to begin a new deal on the car you are already driving – in this case, you would have to choose a new car & start a separate agreement.


When your lease ends & you make your final rental payment, you can start another contract with a brand-new car of your choice. Whether you're looking for an Audi, Mercedes-Benz or Citroën, we're sure to have the vehicle you want at a great price. Check out all our lease deals & find the best value today on your next car.

 

Find out more about how leasing a car works by taking a look at our handy guides or check out our latest car offers.