What happens at the end of your lease?

At the end of a vehicle leasing contract, there is an 'End of Lease' process. Here we explain the process and some additional things you might want to consider.

What happens at the end of leasing a car?

As you approach the end of your lease deal, there are several options and steps to consider prior to the formal closure of the contract:

  1. Review of your options
  2. Wear and tear check
  3. Mileage check
  4. Vehicle collection
  5. Inspection

1. Review Your Options

If you currently lease your vehicle with Rivervale, we'll automatically send you an email alert six, three and one month before your contract expiry date.

Feel free to call us when you receive these alerts, and you can talk to your Account Manager to discuss your options.

You could already have your next car in mind - in this case, we can start reviewing the best deals for you. We can also make recommendations based on your preferences, such as budget, size, and manufacturer.

You may also have the option to extend your current leasing contract, though this is subject to approval from the finance company and there is no guarantee. If this is something you are interested in, it is always worth talking to your Account Manager at Rivervale, and we will try our best to arrange this for you.

2. fair wear and tear

As part of your contract agreement, your vehicle must be returned in a fair condition or you may be charged.

Your Account Manager will advise you to compare the condition of your vehicle against the BVRLA 'fair wear and tear' guidelines. The BVRLA is the trade body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector, and guidelines provide the standard that our finance companies adhere to.

If there is any damage that falls outside the guidelines, your Account Manager will generally advise repairing damage before the vehicle is returned. This allows you more control over the cost of repair, as you can choose where the work is done, rather than the finance company.

If you would like more information, read our Fair Wear and Tear Guide.

3. Mileage Check

Your Account Manager will request that you check your mileage against the mileage allowance set at the start of your contract.

If you have gone over the agreed limit, you will be charged for the additional miles; called an 'excess mileage charge'. The price of this charge differs between vehicles, but the cost will be outlined in your contract. Your Account Manager can also check the amount for you if you'd like.

4. Vehicle Collection

Next, your Account Manager will have a conversation with you regarding the collection of your vehicle. For your convenience, the collection can be arranged at a time and location most suitable for you. This can include the collection of the vehicle from your place of work.

To help them organise this, let your Account Manager know your preferred date, time and location as soon as possible.

Vehicle Inspection

5. Inspection

The driver assigned by the finance company will perform a thorough check of the vehicle on collection. This is following the BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines highlighted above.

It is always advisable that you clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle before collection. You will be present for this initial inspection and will be able to read the driver's report before you sign and agree to it.

In the very rare event that you feel the initial report is unfair or inaccurate, we suggest you take photos of any areas of concern and let your Account Manager know. Your Account Manager can request photographic evidence from the finance company and will help resolve any disputes.

Your vehicle will then be taken to a second inspection where the cost of repairs if any, will be calculated. If there is damage that falls outside of the guidelines, you will be sent an invoice for the repair costs.

After that, you are free of your leasing contract.

When leasing a car, can you return early?

Vehicle leasing agreements are not designed to be ended early. Similar to a mobile phone contract, if you want to upgrade early or end your contract, you must pay a termination charge. This charge will depend on the vehicle make / model, and how much time is left on the contract. It will also vary between funding companies.

That said, if your circumstances change, you may decide that you no longer want to continue with your lease deal. For example, you may have a new job that will take you over your annual mileage, or you might be experiencing financial difficulties. You may just be unhappy with the car you have chosen. Whatever the reason, there is always a solution.

  • Lease transfer: A transfer of lease is one option, but it is only used between two limited companies. Most leasing companies will refuse to transfer a contract to someone else.
  • Pay a termination charge: If you are desperate to end the lease, a termination charge will come into effect. You will also be charged for any damage to the vehicle and be liable for excess mileage costs.
  • Financial difficulties: If you experience financial difficulties after taking your lease, and feel you can no longer meet the monthly payments, contact your leasing company straight away. They may be able to change your payment plan to reflect your circumstances, meaning a lower rate for a set period of time. They may even pause your payments for a temporary period. If this is the case, they are likely to request completion of an income and expenditure form.
  • Termination fees: The amount of termination fee you will be charged varies between companies and will be written into your contract. Some may charge 50% of the remaining lease, but they also reserve the right to charge the full 100%.
  • Faulty car: If there’s a fault with the car, you must contact the leasing company immediately to let them know. The first step is always to try to rectify the issue before returning the car.

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