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Never reaffirmed vehicle lease, continued payments, lease is up.. Now what?

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  • Never reaffirmed vehicle lease, continued payments, lease is up.. Now what?

    Hi Folks, I listed my vehicle in my chapter 7 which was discharged in June of 2010. I kept making the payments on the car for the last year and a half though, but never signed a reaffirmation. Now, my lease is up, I owe a few thousand dollars in mileage that I went over on my lease agreement, and cannot afford to pay that upon returning the vehicle nor can i afford to refinance the car (it is a luxury vehicle.. ahh, the good ol' days). My question is, can I just let the lease expire, have the car company repossess the car and not pay the additional miles I owe? By continuing to pay the lease, did I "reaffirm" the vehicle already? I've gotten conflicting answers from attorneys
    Thank You!

  • #2
    I would think since you did not sign a reaffirmation agreement and you included the debt in your bankruptcy, you would be able to just walk away from the car with no financial obligation.
    Chapter 7 Filed: 04/21/2011, 341 Meeting: 05/31/2011, Report of No Distrubution: 06/02/2011, Discharged: 08/03/2011, Closed: 08/10/11

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    • #3
      Since you did not "assume" the lease (reaffirm it), the lease was deemed "rejected" and does not exist. You can return the vehicle and not pay the overage charges.

      Des.

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      • #4
        Those are my thoughts too. And my bk lawyer "thinks" the same. The second opinion from another lawyer (not a bk specialist)I got scared me. Since the mileage over my lease agreement is "new debt". Des, are you saying this from experience? I would hate to put a down payment a new car, then get hit with almost $4000 in mileage! Thanks again

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        • #5
          Don't see how it could be a "new debt" since the provision relating to the milage issue exists ONLY through a lease agreement that has been rejected. You paid the creditor "fair rental value" while the vehicle was in your possession. Nothing more, nothing less. And, yes, this is from experience. Never had a client have to deal with the issue unless the client assumed the lease.

          Des.

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          • #6
            Thank you!

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            • #7
              By continuing to make the payments and drive the car, you did what is known as a "stay and pay". That is not the same thing as reaffirming. The lease agreement--as well as any associated fees and penalties--was discharged in your bankruptcy. The finance company could have chosen to reposess the car as soon as your bankruptcy was discharged--even if you wanted to keep paying--however many lenders will let you keep the car as long as you continue to pay.

              That being said, there is no reason to force the lender to reposess the car, which could result in a repo on your credit report since the car was not actually surrendered in bankruptcy. You would be better off to arrange to return the car to a dealer, and then refuse to pay any "excess mileage" fees on the ground that the contract which entitled them to charge such fees was discharged in your bankruptcy.

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              • #8
                bcohen, Thank you. I was unaware of anything in my credit report changing. As of now, all three of my reports say "included in chapter 7 bk". Except one report says "paid or paying as agreed" as well as "included in chapter 7 bk".

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