Can You Lease A Car For 1 Year?

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Bethany Hickey is a Content Manager and Writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs. She's a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. 

, Content Manager - August 24, 2021

Occasionally, lessees have the option of choosing a one-year car lease. They’re not common, but they do exist.

Average Car Lease Terms

Typically, vehicle lease terms are either 24 or 36 months long. There are rare cases, such as the 2022 Nissan LEAF, which has an unusual one-year lease option. Currently, the LEAF is the only Nissan model that’s offering this short lease term.

The money factor (leasing interest rate) is 0.00128, or a 3% APR on the LEAF one-year leasing option. The 36-month lease has a money factor at 0.00003, which is essentially a 0% APR. We don’t know how much the one-year lease term is going to cost each month, or how much you need down to qualify, but if you’re looking for a short lease, this may be a good route to start exploring.

Is a 1-Year Lease Term a Good Idea?

Leasing offers flexibility – especially a one-year lease. You make your monthly payments until you’ve paid everything to the leasing company, and once complete, you can return the vehicle to the dealership. After the lease is over you can look into leasing again or vehicle financing.

Additionally, since leasing means you’re not paying for the vehicle’s entire value, monthly payments for a car lease are almost always lower than auto loan payments on a brand new vehicle. Short-term, leasing is typically the less expensive option.

Borrowers that have a short commute are often enticed by leasing options, since they come with mileage restrictions but give a lessee the ability to drive a new vehicle every few years or so. Consumers that take on yearly contract jobs or travel for work may also benefit from a short lease term. Or, anyone else who only wants personal transportation for a year or so.

However, consider that the shorter your lease, the more it may cost you each month. If you choose a 12-month or 24-month lease option, usually, monthly payments are higher than a 36-month lease option.

Can I Qualify for a Car Lease With Bad Credit?

Not everyone can qualify for an auto lease. Typically, leasing companies have stringent credit score requirements, and may require you to have a credit score above 670 or higher. Borrowers with credit scores below that threshold may need the assistance of a cosigner to qualify for a lease – although a cosigner still isn’t a guarantee of approval.

Leasing companies often require their lessees to have good credit because vehicle leasing is almost exclusively for brand new vehicles. If you’re looking for a car with less than perfect credit, then aiming for an auto loan may be a more reasonable option.

It’s also important to remember that you need enough provable income to qualify, likely a clean credit report, and many lease deals require cash down to qualify for special lease deals or financing rebates.

Need a Short-Term Car With Poor Credit?

If you’re in need of a vehicle and only for a little while, then a lease swap or a lease to own contract may be for you.

A lease swap, or lease takeover, is when you take over someone else’s auto lease. Typically, this means meeting the same requirements as the original lessee did when they started the lease, taking over the contract with the same terms and conditions, and finishing out the term. Depending on the original lease requirements, you may need a similar credit rating to the original lessee.

A lease to own vehicle contract is offered by buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers, and it means paying for a car in weekly or monthly installments until you’ve paid everything you owe. There’s no interest on these contracts, because it’s not a loan or a tradtional lease. Often, these lease to own agreements are short-term. And, if you decide you no longer want the car, you may be able to return it without any strings attached (although you forfeit all previous payments).

BHPH dealers often skip the credit check, making them a good option for borrowers with tarnished credit histories that need a vehicle quickly and for a short period of time.

Ready to Get a Vehicle?

Lease options vary by automaker, and what you can qualify for is dependent on your individual situation. If you’re looking to lease your next car, then check out the latest lease deals here.

Here at CarsDirect, we’re always keeping up on the latest deals and car buying insights to help you along your vehicle journey. We also want to help bad credit borrowers find a special finance dealership that’s signed up with subprime lenders – these lenders know there’s more to a borrower than a three-digit credit score.

If you’re looking for a car loan with less than ideal credit, then complete our 60-second auto loan request form. We’ll get right to work looking for a special finance dealer in your local area.


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, Content Manager

Bethany Hickey is a Content Manager and Writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs. She's a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. 

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