Is it possible to lease a car in a friend's name who has low or poor credit history and lives in a different state than where I live utilizing my own good credit record?
How does it work and what are the things to look out for?
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It works as follows:
1) You go along to the place where he will lease, you sign the paperwork, and they run a credit report on you. Your friend gets his car.
2) 6 months later you get a letter asking for payment as your friend has missed the last two. The same behaviors that gave him bad credit are showing themselves now.
3) You no longer get return calls from the friend and realize you are on the hook for the money.
4) you are out one friend + one sum of money.
Note: the cases where this works out are rare. The correct answer to such friends is "OMG, I was just looking to trade my wheels in and was thinking of asking for your help. I guess we are in the same boat. How 'bout that (sport team) we both follow?"
I am going to contradict everyone here and say that it does not always end in problems. Anecdotal evidence: a friend of a friend had zero credit (just came to the country) and asked me to co-sign on a vehicle, after no one in his family would help. After thinking about it, I decided to help him out. It turned out better than expected. He, in fact, paid it all off in two years (it was a 5 year lease, iirc).
The only negative was that as a thank you, he took me to see a movie on his dime. It was the first Star Wars prequel. That was pretty horrible, almost made me wish I never co-signed for him in the first place.
You are putting your credit up for a person with poor credit. Should they default, or not fulfill their obligation, you will suffer the hit to your credit. You have all the risk and none of the reward.
Look, you are a pretty nice person to think about this. If you are wanting to help your friend, there are other ways. Your kindness is a good trait, but from a financial point of view this is a pretty bad plan.