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At the end of your leasing contract, you will return the vehicle to the leasing company. Part of the handover includes an assessment to determine whether the vehicle meets the agreed returned condition. As always, it’s wise to start the preparations early.

For a start, check out the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Fair Wear and Tear Guide at least eight weeks before the end of your lease. The aim of the guide is to provide an industry-wide, accepted standard as to what constitutes fair wear and tear to help to reduce or eliminate de-hire charges at the end of a vehicle contract.

Lease-end penalty charges are most commonly for:

  • stains, rips, tears and burns on seats;
  • scratched or scuffed paintwork;
  • chips and dents on the bodywork; 
  • damage to wheels and trims.

What is fair wear and tear?

Fair wear and tear occurs when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle. This is not to be confused with damage, which occurs as a result of a specific event or series of events such as impact, inappropriate stowing of items, harsh-treatment, negligent acts or omissions.

End of lease checklist

  • Start preparations early - Order a copy of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) Fair Wear and Tear Guide, or read it online, at least eight weeks before the end of your lease.
  • Clean and dry your car thoroughly - You need to give your car a good clean first before conducting the assessment so that you can see any damage. You will incur penalty charges for returning a car with excessive dirt, stains or odours, so it will require cleaning anyway.
  • Consider having your professional car valet, especially if you haven’t invested much time in cleaning it over the lease period.
  • When assessing your car make sure the weather is good. The car should be dry and assessed in good daylight. If the car has raindrops on it, finding paint imperfections and dents will be nearly impossible.
  • Be objective in your evaluation and take the opportunity to put right what could cost you more at lease-return. A good checklist is essential for accurate evaluation. If in doubt ask a friend to help.
  • Rectify damage – Any damage on your car that exceeds fair wear and tear as outlined in the BVRLA guide should be rectified. Do not be tempted to try your luck with the inspector. There are simple and cost-effective solutions available for most car damages.
  • Consider using a lease return specialist – There are companies that offer specialist lease-end services such as inspections, valeting and SMART repair. By using these companies you will benefit from
  • comprehensive cleaning services including odour removal
  • expert wear and tear assessment to the same standards as those used by lease-end inspectors
  • smart repair techniques that work out cheaper than replacement parts and body shop repairs

Ultimately, the best way to avoid penalty charges at lease-end is to take better care of your car from the start. Always maintain your lease car along the guidelines provided in the owner’s manual from the manufacturer.

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Posted on 10th January 2019 at 5:12 PM

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