Most lenders treat the voluntary surrender of a vehicle the same as repossession. Despite this fact, surrendering can benefit a borrower by saving him a significant amount of money in repossession costs. When a leased vehicle is voluntarily surrendered, the lender will usually sell the vehicle at auction, and then apply the money received at auction to the balance owed on your auto lease. If the lender receives less money at the auction than you still owe on the lease, the difference is called a deficiency balance. Generally speaking, you would be liable to the creditor for the deficiency balance, which means you will probably still owe money to the creditor even though you no longer have the vehicle. The creditor may be willing to negotiate a repayment plan or lump-sum settlement with you to repay the deficiency, but if you fail to make arrangements with the creditor, the creditor could sue you to obtain a judgment against you, which could result in wage garnishment, a lien on your property, and/or bank levies, depending on the laws in your state.
Because deficiency balances on automobile leases can cause a significant financial hardship, you should work diligently to prevent the vehicle from being repossessed, if at all possible. First, you should contact the creditor to discuss options to bring the lease current, such as deferral of the missed payments. If the lender will not work with you in bringing the lease current, you should look into borrowing the money needed to pay the deficiency. If you cannot borrow the money to repay your missed payments, or if you cannot afford to continue making your regular monthly payments, you may have no choice but to surrender the vehicle or let it be repossessed, in which case you should contact an attorney to discuss the laws in your state regarding the collection of deficiency balances, and what options are available to you to resolve the debt. For example, many consumers whose vehicles are repossessed find that filing bankruptcy can help solve their financial problems; I encourage you to visit the Bills.com Bankruptcy Information page to learn more about bankruptcy and the options available to you. In addition, a debt resolution program, such as debt settlement, may be able to help you negotiate a settlement with you creditor. To learn more about bankruptcy alternatives, I invite you to visit the Bills.com Debt Help page.
A voluntary surrender of your vehicle will likely appear on your credit report as a repossession, or possibly as a voluntary repossession, meaning that the surrender will likely have a strong negative mark on your credit profile. If you simply cannot afford the vehicle, you may have no choice but to surrender the vehicle and worry about the credit impact later. If you do nothing, the vehicle will be repossessed anyway, which will also damage your credit and could cost you several thousand dollars in additional repossession fees.
Like any negative mark on your credit profile, surrendering your vehicle could cause you problems if you are attempting to purchase a home. With the tightening of underwriting standards following the recent implosion of the sub-prime mortgage market, aspiring homeowners with credit problems are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the financing they need to buy a home. If your credit is otherwise solid, the voluntary surrender of your vehicle may not prevent you from obtaining a mortgage, but it will likely make the process much more difficult. Again, if you cannot afford the lease payments, you likely have no choice but to surrender the vehicle, but you should know that it could cause you problems in your search for a home. However, you should also keep in mind that a voluntary surrender or repossession only stays on your credit report for seven years, so this lease should not permanently damage your credit rating. In addition, as time passes, the negative impact of the surrender on your credit score should diminish, so even if you cannot qualify for a mortgage now, you may be able to in a few years if you work hard to keep your other credit accounts in good standing. If you would like to learn more about credit, credit reports, and credit scoring, I encourage you to visit the Bills.com Credit Information page.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.