We’ve heard of a few different scenarios for selling a leased Tesla, and some of the answers to the question of whether or not you can sell your leased Tesla are a bit more complicated than you’d think.

Let’s take a deeper look at when you can (or can’t) sell a leased Tesla, how to terminate or transfer your Tesla lease, and  where the best marketplace options are for selling a leased Tesla.

Disclaimer: before we get started, we’d like to point out that this article is for informational purposes only. We’re EV experts, not financial consultants; please check with your financial advisor(s) before making financial or investment decisions.

Tesla vs a 3rd Party: Who Leased Your Tesla?

First things first: you can’t sell what you don’t technically own. A lease must be bought out according to the lease agreement before you can legally sell it.

So who owns your Tesla lease? Typically, this will be either Tesla or a 3rd party dealership.

Since Tesla is very specific about their current leasing program, we’ll look at whether you can buy a Tesla lease first:

Does Tesla Let You Buy Your Lease?

If you lease a vehicle from Tesla today (any model: S, 3, X, or Y), Tesla does NOT offer a buyout clause, either for you or for a 3rd party. This makes selling a leased Tesla—if the lease is from the manufacturer itself—basically impossible.

However, Teslas that were leased prior to April 15th, 2022 have a more complicated answer for whether or not you can buy them at the end of the lease. Let’s take a look:

Model 3 and Model Y Lease Buyout

For the Model 3 and the Model Y, Tesla has never offered an option to purchase the leased car once the lease expired. Originally, these cars were supposed to be put back into the Robotaxi program. As that program hasn’t progressed (and would likely use an entirely different vehicle if it does eventually launch), most formerly leased Model 3s and Model Ys are sold through Tesla’s Used Inventory.

Effectively, this means that if you lease a Model Y or Model 3 from Tesla, you will not be able to sell your lease. Again, you can’t buy it, so you don’t own it. If you don’t own it, you can’t sell it.

Model S and Model X Lease Buyout

The story for the Model S and Model X is where the complication comes in. As we already mentioned, you can’t lease a Model S or Model X today that includes a purchase option at the end of the lease term. However, before April 15, 2022, the lease agreement for the Model S and the Model X did include the option to buy your lease.

If you took delivery of a leased Model X or Model S before April 15th, 2022, check your lease agreement to see what the buyout payment terms are. 3rd party dealerships or private buyers can’t buy out your lease for you, but you can sell your leased Tesla to a third party after paying the buyout price yourself.

Your leased Tesla’s buyout price would be based on the estimated residual value of the vehicle, which is the price Tesla estimated that the vehicle would be worth at the end of your lease. This residual value accounts for multiple factors, including:

  • Depreciation
  • Normal wear and tear due to use
  • Vehicle mileage, which is already limited (to an extent) in the original lease agreement

A typical buyout price will include:

  • The residual value amount
  • Any remaining lease payments
  • Sales tax and local fees (both variable by state)
  • For vehicles delivered after April 13, 2019 (at this point, this should include all currently leased Teslas): a purchase fee of $350.

Note: because Tesla only leases for a maximum of 36 months plus a 6 month optional extension (effectively, 42 months), all Tesla lease buyout terms should be over and done with by October 15th, 2025.

How To Terminate or Transfer a Tesla Lease

If your reason for wanting to sell a leased Tesla is just to get out from under the burden of the lease, you have two options: terminating the lease early or transferring your lease to another private party.

Tesla currently allows two different approaches to terminating your lease early that depend on how much time you have left on your lease:

  • For early lease termination with less than 3 months until the end of your lease, there are no penalties for termination. You just pay your remaining balance and whatever “end of term” fees are in your Tesla lease agreement.
  • For early lease termination 3 or more months, there will be a significant cost to finish out the lease. You can use your Tesla app to get a quote for this fee by going to Financing -> Lease Details -> Manage Lease and selecting “Early Lease Termination” (in the dropdown menu by Update Lease). The app should guide you through getting an estimated quote for early termination.

If you know a private party who is interested in carrying the balance of your lease, Tesla does allow you to transfer a lease to another Tesla account holder (credit approved, of course). There are a few fees involved, and you must have more than 12 months left on your lease for Tesla to accept the transfer request.

For a full discussion of Tesla early lease termination and how to start a Tesla lease transfer, see your lease agreement or check out Tesla’s Q&A page for Ending Your Lease Early.

Can You Lease to Buy a Tesla From a Third Party Dealership?

If you are leasing from a dealership or 3rd party, the answer to whether or not you can sell a leased Tesla varies according to the lease terms. If the lease agreement does include a buyout option, you can pay the amount specified to gain ownership of the Tesla.

The buyout price breakdown will be similar to the one we described earlier for a buyout of a leased Tesla Model S or Model X:

  • The residual value amount
  • Any remaining lease payments
  • Sales tax and local fees (both variable by state)
  • Any additional fees included in your lease agreement

Once you’ve completed the buyout and received your Tesla’s title, you should be able to start the process to sell your Tesla.

How to Sell a Leased Tesla

If you’ve gone through your lease agreement and discovered that yes, there is a buyout clause, you have a few options:

  1. Follow the instructions in your lease agreement to buy your Tesla in full. There will typically be fees and taxes involved that depend on your situation and state.

Once you’ve completed the paperwork and received your Tesla’s title, you can either sell it to a private buyer or to a dealership. We can get you started with either option right here on Find My Electric; see the last section for details!

  1. Find a 3rd party buyer (typically a dealership) who is willing to purchase your lease (again, this won’t work if you are leasing directly from Tesla). They will negotiate with the leasing company to transfer ownership of the Tesla and complete any remaining lease payments.

The Best Place to Sell a Used Tesla

When you get through all the hoops required to purchase your leased Tesla and are ready to sell, you’ll probably also be ready to 1) make money back for your trouble, and 2) sell in the easiest way possible.

We’ve got two great options for you, but the best part is that you can use them both with the same amount of effort:

  • Used EV Listings: get an eye-catching ad that highlights your Tesla’s features to the best buyers on the internet. It’s free and easy to set up and go live, but you can add top-tier premium features (including an AutoCheck report and expert pricing assistance) for a small fee.

Our EV listings were originally designed with Teslas in mind. Your potential buyers are already here, looking to find exactly what you’ll be offering. Create an account, answer a few questions about your Tesla, and get your used Tesla ad in front of thousands of viewers in just minutes!

EV Cash Offer is a real offer from our EV dealership partners with no obligation to sell. Virtual inspection and driveway pickup are done whenever possible to make your part in the selling process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

Ready to sell your used Tesla? Create a seller account to get started today!