The car title is an important document establishing ownership of a vehicle. You need a title to properly register the car with your state. When you buy a car, you have a right to the title, and your name is printed on it as an owner. However, the situation regarding the title is different if you decide to lease the vehicle.
Leasing a car is a temporary arrangement between you and a car financing unit. The financing company lends the vehicle to you for a period of time, usually about three years, retrieving the car at lease-end. The financing company maintains ownership throughout. This type of arrangement is ideal if you prefer to change cars every few years and don’t mind that you do not own the cars you drive.
Do You Get the Title?
Because the car financing company keeps ownership of the leased car, you do not receive the title nor a copy of the title when you initiate the lease. However, your state needs to see the title to register the car. The financing company commonly sends the application for registration on your behalf to your state department of motor vehicles. To complete the registration for the vehicle, in some cases the company must have a valid car leasing license with the state.
Title Copy Request
In some rare cases, the leasing company may provide you or another party with a copy of the title upon request. But in many cases, you cannot use a copy to handle official business. The title copy lists the name of the financing company as the owner, so if you’re trying to prove ownership of the car, a title copy is not helpful.
If you decide to purchase the car at the end of the lease with cash, you would get a copy of the title for your records. The leasing company signs the title over to you as the new owner, and you must then take it to your local DMV to register the vehicle in your own name. If you take a loan for the car when you decide to purchase it after leasing, the new lending bank holds onto the title.