What You Need to Know About a Tesla Lease Takeover

Updated January 28th, 2022

Tesla lease takeover: entrepreneur charging her electric car

Elon Musk‘s Tesla Motors is well established as the darling of the electric vehicle world, and drivers everywhere are excited to get behind the wheel of the brand’s latest models. But like any new car, getting behind the wheel of a Tesla all-electric car can get pricey, particularly given the automaker’s status as a luxury brand. 

Looking to get behind the wheel of a Tesla without getting locked into a standard two- or four-year lease? A Tesla lease takeover is an option you can consider. Drivers who opt for a Tesla lease takeover, also known as a lease transfer, take over a pre-existing lease agreement from another driver before it expires. Taking over an existing lease payment with several months left may save you money compared to buying a new Tesla

And while a lease takeover can save drivers money compared to a traditional car lease, they are not without drawbacks. In this article, we’ll illustrate how you can get behind the wheel of a Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model X, or Tesla Model S by appropriating a monthly lease from another driver before that lease ends.

Tesla Lease Takeover: The Basics

From Craigslist to Facebook Marketplace and other public forums, Tesla drivers eager to get out of the terms of their lease agreement look for buyers willing to take them over. 

The buyout terms, mileage, and application of taxes and fees are unique to each Tesla lease takeover situation, and no two are alike. However, the criteria and cost of private lease takeovers are often less expensive and restrictive than traditional financing routes.

Unlike other automakers who rely on the conventional dealership system, Tesla Motors spearheads all its financing, loan, and lease options through its own financial wing, Tesla Financial. Contrary to used dealerships and private sales, the parameters of getting financing and lease terms through Tesla can be difficult for some buyers. Credit standards for Tesla Financial are strict. Monthly payments can be high, even for qualified buyers. 

In addition, a hefty down payment is usually required to get behind the wheel of the latest Tesla Models, or to reserve forthcoming models like the Tesla Roadster. As of this writing, it’s also important to keep in mind that given their volume of sales, Teslas no longer qualify for federal tax incentive programs and rebates. 

So, you might be turning to the idea of a lease takeover to save some money. But is it worth it? 

​​Benefits of a Tesla Lease Takeover

If your current financial situation or credit score is prohibiting you from getting your own lease deal, or is preventing you from getting the financing you need, a Tesla lease takeover may be a good option for you. The options of a lease buyout include: 

No Down Payment Necessary

As of this writing, a downpayment for a Tesla financing package can be as much as $5,663. However, lease buyouts do not traditionally require any down payment at all, which means you could save thousands in upfront costs. 

A Better Deal With Average/Poor Credit

When applying for a new car lease, it takes good credit to secure the best APR financing and monthly payments. Ironically, credit stipulations are often less strict when taking over a loan, which means you may be able to secure stellar lease rates obtained by a previous lessee with poor credit despite not having the best credit score yourself.  

Potential Cash Incentives

If you collaborate with a lessee who is very eager to get out of their lease agreement, it may be beneficial to you. Drivers eager to get out of leases often need to do so quickly, due to the fact they are moving or have a desire to adopt new lease terms for another vehicle. 

Sometimes, original lessees will offer cash incentives to prospective buyers willing to take over the lease terms. Often this incentive will cover transfer fees charged by the leasing company, which can be expensive. 

Maintain Original Lease Warranty Coverage

Taking over a lease also means taking over the warranty coverage and lease-end options inherent in that contract. Standard lease agreements usually come with comprehensive warranty coverage for the first three years or 36,000 miles the car is driven. 

If you take over a lease before the conclusion of this period, the costs of parts and labor for repairs and routine maintenance may be covered by the automaker, sparing you the cost. While the cost of EV maintenance is traditionally lower than that of gas-powered vehicles, not having to pay for it is certainly still a plus. 

​​Drawbacks of a Tesla Lease Takeover

Tesla lease takeover: man charging his electric car

Finding the right Tesla lease takeover can have many positives that can help you get behind the wheel of the Tesla you’ve been eyeing. That said, it’s not without potential drawbacks. Some of the cons of taking over an existing Tesla lease include:

Extensive Research (and Patience) Required

Navigating the world lease takeovers can be tricky, and it’s certainly not as simple as shopping for a car online. It can take extensive research and navigation of message boards, social networks, and email correspondence to find the right deal. 

It can take weeks, if not months, to find the right lease deal to take over, whether you choose to do so either through a dealership or a private transaction. As of this writing, there are no formal channels to take over a lease through the Tesla company itself.

Legal is Help Recommended

While having legal representation is not required for a Tesla lease takeover, it’s recommended. Have a lawyer review the terms of the agreement to make sure you aren’t liable for any unforeseen fees or charges down the road.

You Have Limited Options

Unlike leasing a car that you’ve personally decided on, the selection of cars eligible for a Tesla lease takeover may not fit every criteria you’re looking for. This means you may need to make exceptions for things like exterior color, or settling on a Tesla without all-wheel drive (AWD) capability. 

There Might Be Additional Fees

Have a certified mechanic thoroughly examine the vehicle before formally taking over any lease. If you take over a lease with existing damages to the vehicle, you may be responsible for damage fees when the lease term expires.  

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Tesla lease takeover: person charging her electric car

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