Am I eligible to lease a car?

What is the criteria to lease a car?

So you’ve come to the decision that you need a new car. And, after some careful consideration and extensive research, you have come to the conclusion that you want to get a car on a lease.

Great! Now what? Well, it’s about now that people start to ask themselves ‘am I eligible to lease a car?’

There are some criteria that you have to meet before you are able to lease a car. The chances are, you’ll be able to lease a car no problem. However, you should take some things into consideration before you make your final decision.

We advise people on this every day. It’s pretty much our job. So we’ve written an article explaining exactly who can lease a car, and whether you are eligible.

How does car leasing work?

Firstly, how does car leasing actually work?

Car leasing has become increasingly popular in the UK and it’s easy to see why.

When you lease a car you essentially have the car for a period of time, between 1 and 5 years, while paying set monthly payments. At the end of the agreement, you hand the car back. Easy.

The main difference between leasing a car and buying one is that when you lease a car, you do not own the vehicle at the end. Which is why you hand it back. Some people like the idea of this, some people don’t, it’s pretty subjective.

However, that’s pretty much how leasing works. You can lease a car through a business, or you can lease it privately.

Of course, this is a really brief introduction into the world of car leasing, but you can find out more about it by downloading our ultimate car leasing guide here.

Who can lease a car?

Anyone. Pretty much. Obviously, you can’t just stroll up to a leasing company and ask for a car, unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that.

But in theory, anyone can lease a car.

Am I eligible to lease a car

What’s the criteria for leasing a car?

There isn’t a specific criterion for leasing a car. However, there are a few things that the finance house will look at before they decide whether you qualify for finance. And those are;


  • Whether you have a strong credit score
  • What you are using the vehicle for
  • Your age
  • Your income

What affects my credit score?

There are lots of different things that affect your credit score. They affect it both positively and negatively. They include things such as;


  • If you have a credit card
  • How much of your credit card you pay off each month
  • Paying credit agreements off on time
  • Personal loans
  • CCJ’s
  • How long you have been at your residence


Checking your credit score is the easiest way for a finance house to determine whether you are going to make the payments or not.

am I eligible to lease a car?

Where can I check my credit score?

If you’re interested in what your credit score is, it’s pretty easy to find out. We direct our customers to websites such as;



We advise doing this first, before talking to a dealership or a broker. This is because multiple credit checks by a finance house can end up damaging your credit score. So, it’s best you check yourself first. If your credit score isn’t as good as you thought it would be, don’t panic. All you need to do is call an experienced broker and they will advise you on the best way forward.

As a side note, these websites offer a free trial. However, after that free trial they will charge you. You could, if you wanted to, sign up, check your score and then cancel your account. But, that’s just a suggestion and it’s completely your choice. Anyway…where were we?

Can I lease a car with bad credit?

Okay, so you’ve found out that you need a good credit score to lease a car, you’ve gone onto one of those websites (and promptly cancelled your account) and you’ve discovered that you don’t have quite the credit score you’d hoped.

Now what?

Well, we’ve been banging on about how vital it is to have a good credit rating to lease a car so now you might be wondering whether you can lease a car if you have a poor credit score?

You can. There is still a chance that if you have a bad credit rating that you can lease a car. However, it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

Some finance houses work exclusively with those who have a poor credit rating. However, if you have a poor credit rating then you are seen as a higher risk. This means that there is a chance that the monthly payments will be higher.

But, don’t lose hope. If you have a regular, secure income then there’s nothing to say you won’t be approved for finance.

We’ve only briefly touched upon leasing with bad credit, but you can read our article on the subject here.

Am I eligible to lease a car

How old do I have to be to lease a car?

Technically, you have to be 18 to lease a car. But, that doesn’t mean you should run out on your 18th birthday and sign a lease agreement.

When you are young, you have no financial commitments. While this can be seen as a good thing to finance houses, it also means you don’t have much of a credit rating, if one at all. So, this means that the finance house can’t tell whether you are going to be able to make the payments or not.

This can be avoided, however, if you go through a guarantor. Luckily for you, we have an article all about getting car finance with a guarantor. 

As you can see, while there is not a specific criterion for being eligible to lease a car, there are some things that are considered important for you doing so. However, this will not necessarily stop you from leasing a car. It may make things a tad trickier, but it’s not the end of the world.

The best thing to do in this situation is to talk to a reputable broker who has access to multiple finance houses. That way you can ensure that you are getting the best deal for your situation.

To Learn more about cars and leasing Visit our learning centre
Rachel Richardson


  • Ankur| 4th June 2020 at 5:52 am Reply

    Can an international student lease a car in Uk?

    • Rachel Richardson| 4th June 2020 at 4:18 pm Reply

      Hi Ankur,

      We have an article all about leasing as a student, which you will be able to find here: https://www.osv.ltd.uk/car-leasing-students/. Unfortunately, as an international student you will be unable to lease a vehicle as you don’t have a UK driving licence.

  • RUCHIKA DOGRA| 24th May 2019 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Every thing always goes well with OSV

    • Rachel Richardson| 24th May 2019 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Hi Ruchika,

      Thank you so much for your kind feedback.

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