What Happens At The End Of A Car Lease?

6 minutes Published: 12/09/2022

It’s exciting receiving a brand new car and it may only seem like yesterday you began your car lease contract. But just like that, it’s reached its end. 

So, you may find yourself asking “what happens at the end of a car lease”? Well here at Lease Fetcher we’re here to explain everything that you need to know before your contract comes to an end. 

We are going to run you through:

  • Everything you need to get in place before your car is collected;
  • The potential charges you need to be aware of; 
  • And what your options are when the lease comes to an end.

Doing a bit of researching before signing a lease contract? Or are you coming to the end of your current deal and looking for a new one? Let Lease Fetcher help you compare car lease deals - see our personal car leasing and business car leasing deals for more!

Do I Need To Drop The Car Off? 

Nope! The leasing company likely arranged for the car to be delivered to you when your contract started, so they will come and collect it at the end.

That being said, some brokers may operate differently, so if you’re unsure, please speak to them directly.

What Happens When the Car Is Collected?

The date of your inspection, will again, depend on your finance house. Some finance houses will send an inspector a week before your car is due to go back, whereas others will inspect it on the day of collection.

When it comes to collection/inspection day, you need to hand over several things to the Collection Agent, including:

  • Up-to-date service book.
  • Full set of vehicle keys.
  • Valid MOT certificate (if applicable)
  • Vehicle operation manual (if applicable)
  • Vehicle V5 Document (if applicable)

The collection agent will inspect your car using the BVRLA's fair wear and tear guide.

The Collection Agent will record the condition and mileage of the car on a Vehicle Condition Form. You will then sign this form and receive a copy of the form for your own personal records.

How Do I Prepare For My Lease Car To Be Collected? 

Your car must be in tip-top shape before collection to avoid any harsh lease car return charges

If you personally inspect the car in advance, you have the chance to shop around for a good quote for fixing damage. If you leave it, the finance house will invoice you for the damage and an admin fee for arranging fixes.The BVRLA recommends doing your checks about 10-12 weeks before handing the car back. There are a number of things to be mindful of prior to collection. You’ll need to:

  • Educate yourself - Read through the BVRLA guidelines so you know what to check over.
  • Clean the car - You would be surprised at how often people receive fines for dirty cars. We suggest giving it a wash - and at the very least a hoover - to avoid any fines. 
  • Inspect the car exterior - Walk around your car and check each panel, door, the roof, bonnet and boot meticulously for any scratches, dents or damage. Then get any required repairs done before inspection - you’ll thank yourself later.  
  • Inspect the car interior - Check the inside of the vehicle for any burns, stains or tears - especially if you had kids or pets on board. Also, make sure to check the functionality of all the controls. 
  • Gather all relevant documents - The collectors will want the service book, MOT certificate, operation manual and the vehicle V5 document. 

If you are taking out another lease with the same company, ask if you can get it delivered at the same time as your current one is collected.

Do I Need To Pay Car Return Charges? 

It's not guaranteed you'll pay lease car return charges. These are only charged at the end of the lease for certain reasons, which we've explored below.

Fair Wear and Tear Charges

This is the most common additional charge to be aware of. You should familiarise yourself with the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear guidelines to see what is chargeable.

Excess Mileage Charges

Excess mileage charges occur if you exceed your mileage limit that was set at the beginning of your contract. The charge varies from broker to broker, starting anywhere from 4p to 70p per extra mile - meaning you could fork out as much as £70 for as little as 100 extra miles!

Breach of Contract

Your contract states you need to service your lease vehicle and make sure repairs are done in a timely manner, and at an approved garage. If you breach this, you'll be charged.

Outstanding Charges

Any outstanding charges such as speeding fines, admin fees or repairs are your responsibility to pay. So before your contract ends and you return the vehicle, ensure you have settled any outstanding debts to avoid additional fines. 

Late Return

If you return your lease vehicle later than the stated end date, then you will incur a fine for a late return. The amount will be determined by your broker depending on the terms of your lease agreement and how long you have exceeded the return date by.

Can I Contest Any Charges?

If your inspection is concluded and you find you don’t agree with what was recorded, you can contest the report.

However, you will need to pay for the evidence to be examined by a qualified engineer who wasn’t a part of the original inspection. This has to be an individual that has been agreed by both parties involved. 

A full refund for the examination will be given by the provider if their decision is in your favour, though disputes that cannot be resolved will go to the BVRLA. In the event that you lose the appeal, you won’t be refunded and you won’t be able to appeal again.

Can I End My Lease Early?

You may have decided to end your car lease contract early. This is possible but at a cost.

With most leasing companies, you will be required to settle early termination fees, plus pay for anywhere between 50-100% of the remaining lease payments depending on the reason for termination.

Can I Extend My Lease?

If you’ve developed an unbreakable bond with your lease vehicle, you may be able to to extend your contract

Speak to your finance company as soon as possible if you really want to keep it, and they should be able to tell you your options. Some companies are more flexible than others, but the sooner you get in contact, the better your chances.

What Are My Options Now That My Car Lease Has ended?

Now that your car lease contract has come to an end you may be wondering “what next?”. Well, there are a number of options available to you:

  • Look for your next lease deal with Lease Fetcher. We work with some of the nation's top brokers to compare deals and bring you the best prices. 
  • Short term leasing: If you were not able to arrange a long term lease prior to the end of your previous contract, a short term lease may be beneficial whilst you establish a new, long term contract. 


Provided you’ve kept your car in reasonably good condition, returning your lease car should be a fairly stress-free experience. You had your good times together, and now you get to pick out a brand new one!

When you want to have the safest cars with the highest tech, without worrying over costly repairs or MOTs, leasing is the best option.

If you're currently researching everything car-leasing related, be sure to use Lease Fetcher to compare lease deals when you're ready for your next set of wheels. We have gathered the most competitive personal car leasing and business car leasing deals on the market, making your search so much easier.