Lease Transfer in Canada: The Step by Step Guide

On the following article, I will talk about my personal experience doing an actual lease transfer in Canada. I will go to every single detail, step and overview of how the process was executed. While I will just mention small details of how did I did it in my city, you can do the same anywhere else in Canada. Now, before doing anything else, post it right now so you start making it visible to everyone:

Post your Lease and then Continue Reading

As a small disclaimer: every step I mention in this article should be used as a reference and not as a direct "way" or method to finalize an actual lease transfer. 

Step #0: Start by Planning Everything

I will assume that if you decided to do a lease transfer, then you are entirely sure that you need to take over this step. The fact that someone takes your contract means that you won't have to pay for it anymore, but you will be literally without a car. This will result in additional costs (although the monthly car payment, insurance, and fuel costs will go away) that you didn't expect before as you were driving on top of a solid solution.

So, the first thing you need to do is very simple: plan everything. This will be your next little project, you will evaluate costs, time and how will affect your daily life the fact that you won't have your car anymore. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I be out of town on the next couple of weeks?
  • If someone calls me right away, will I be able to go to speed things up?
  • Will I really need the car for any special event in the next few days?
  • How much I'm willing to pay to someone for taking my lease?
  • How much I'm going to save, even paying, by transferring my lease?

It is highly important to do the math and include all variables, otherwise, you'll be running a lot of risks.

Step #1: Check Your Credit Score

Avoid surprises. The only way things work the way you wanted, is by having all known variables under your control. I don't mean directly influencing on these, but knowing, at least, the range of each specific one. If you are decided to go ahead, ensure that you will accomplish the required minimums for incentives, rates, loans and acceptance criteria. You can get a FREE Equifax Credit Score in only 2 minutes.

Your credit score is crucial as it will give you the confirmation of "how clear" all your estimations are. It is completely useless that you project to "lease" a new vehicle at a specific rate and later have only the chance of paying way above or making a downpayment you didn't expect to. If somehow it is low, evaluate Borrowell Canada Credit Rebuild Tips to improve it and keep everything under your control.

Step #2: Evaluate Your Next and Temporary Solution

If you are transferring your lease, it is mainly because of 2 reasons:

  • You don't need your car anymore.
  • You need another car.

If we go with the first one, as soon as the car goes away, that's it. You'll be done with it. You'll have your own plans for maybe taking the subway, using the public transportation or even using your spouse vehicle from now on as it will be enough.

But, on the other hand, how about if you are actually in the middle of a transition and you are transferring your vehicle because you need, let's say, a bigger one? Then you'll have to carefully evaluate your next steps to come up with affordable alternatives that fit your actual interest and budget.

Let's suppose you have someone to take over your lease. The person says "he will take the car" and then you go running up to a dealership to sign your next vehicle. If somehow, something goes wrong, you will end up paying 2 vehicles at the same time, while being only able to drive one.

On these scenarios, it is extremely important that you know the risks of signing 2 vehicles at the same time. My suggestion: start looking around, and start negotiating your next vehicle, but let the dealer know that you will be signing soon. This way you will save time, you'll be already familiarized with the dealer and you will have a more clear idea of the availability of what you are looking for and where. 

Dealers use to take 2 - 7 days to deliver a vehicle that they have in stock, so won't hurt you at all to rent a car during those days. Or even find an alternative way of solving your problems during that small period of time. So, doing a recap:

  1. Start negotiating your next car while you look for someone to take yours.
  2. Sign off your current lease.
  3. Run to your dealer to sign the new one.
  4. Rent a vehicle (you can get up to 25CAD/day at Alamo, Enterprise... downtown Montreal)
  5. Pick up your new Car.

Using this approach, you will have a lower risk and the additional costs will only depend on how many days you'll be renting. Still, if somehow you expect the new vehicle to last way more time, then evaluate the chance of having both cars at the same time, but still, it will be a risky way of doing so.

Step #3 Gain Visibility

Start by asking everyone among your friend that you identify may be interested. I've talked about this in previous articles. The fact that you need to transfer your lease, maybe a fantastic opportunity to someone close to you who may have credit problems, don't like to negotiate with dealers or perhaps would love to have a car for the remaining months of the term.  Feel free just to comment it out without many details, only in case. If someone among your friends was just a little bit interested, you would regret it later when they knew you pass it to someone else.

And, of course, post it on our Lease Takeover Marketplace, every minute counts. Do it ASAP so we can promote your listing, and this way will be where you will get the faster results you are expecting: your potential "clients."

#4 Show the Vehicle to Your Potential "Clients."

Although you'll be acting as a dealer, as you are trying to "sell" your contract to someone else, you need to prepare yourself for earning the trust of your "potential clients." The following checklist resulted very useful for my clients and also for me, to ensure a smooth transition, communication and build a bright relationship:

  • Go to a car wash. Prepare it both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
  • Make copies of all documents: Lease Contract, Maintenance Oil Change Receipts, Tire Changes and Insurance Proof. If you deliver all these to the potential buyer and explain them each specific detail of their interest, you'll be building a trust on top of transparent relationship.
  • Bring the car to them. You are the main interested person on this deal, so you can speed things up.

Step #5 Call The Dealer and Ask for All Details about the Lease Transfer

They will specify every single step and paperwork they will need. Have in hand, the following:

  • A Copy of your Drivers Licence.
  • A Copy of the Vehicle registration. (with the VIN of the vehicle)

If somehow you managed to follow the steps I described in #3, there is a high chance your "buyer" is so interested that he will call himself to speed things up. You could deliver all these during the vehicle show if you feel confident enough to do so.

Step #6 Setup the Transfer Meeting

And this is the final step. It may sometimes take up to 2 hours, but then, your car will have a new "owner" and everything will be done. As you see, the longest part of the process is actually finding someone to get the lease transfer done. The rest, the better you plan it, the better it will go through.

Good luck!

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About the author

Jorge Diaz is a passionate car lover, winter driver & Software Engineer. For the last 10 years, he has built Online Solutions used by more than 5,000 companies across the globe. He founded LeaseCosts in 2016 with the purpose of simplifying and helping Canadians to better understand the complex market of car leasing in Canada. You can connect with Jorge at or send him a direct message.