If you are coming up on the end of your car lease, it is important that you make contact with the auto company responsible for your lease contract, the lending institution responsible for financing or the dealership itself. Communication is key.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many auto lease companies and dealerships are offering extensions on vehicle leases, which will allow you to turn in the vehicle at a later date, as well as offering relief programs and special financing. Depending on your situation, you may still continue to be responsible for any Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) fees during the extension period. Some auto lease companies are automatically extending customer leases if they have not heard back from the customer by the end of the lease; you are not required to accept the extension.
A vehicle lease is a contract that comes with an expiration date of when the vehicle needs to be returned back to the dealer. The contract also comes with an option for you to buy the vehicle which is a buyout. It is your responsibility to communicate to the auto lease company if you plan to turn in the vehicle or do a buyout.
If you decide to return your leased vehicle, you need to contact the dealership to make arrangements to drop off the vehicle. Some dealers are offering free pick-up or drop-off through their service departments. It is important that you check with your local dealership to see what options are available to you. Keep in mind that when you return a leased vehicle you may be billed later for any costs associated with the post-lease inspection process.
You cannot be forced to keep a vehicle if the lease has expired. If the lease has expired and the dealership is refusing to take the vehicle back, you can write to the finance company and the dealership informing them that you do not want the vehicle and that they will be responsible for any damages owed to you. If you are faced with this situation, be mindful that you will still be responsible for any damages or DMV fees associated with the vehicle as well as any vehicle insurance or registration until the vehicle is returned to the dealership or auto company.