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Leasing is a contract between the leasing company, the “lessor”, and the customer, the “lessee”; The leasing company buys and owns the asset that the lessee requires. The customer hires the asset from the leasing company and pays a rental over a pre-determined period for the use of the asset.

The leasing company can sometimes claim capital allowances on the assets. These benefits are usually passed onto the lessee in the form of reduced repayments. There are two types of lease :Finance Lease and Operating Lease


Under a finance lease the rental covers virtually all of the costs of the asset, therefore the value of the rental is equal to or greater than 90% of the cost of the asset. The leasing company claims written down allowances, whilst the customer can claim both tax relief and VAT on rentals paid.


The lease will not run for the full life of the asset and the lessee will not be liable for its full value The lessor or the original manufacturer or supplier will assume the residual risk. This type of lease will normally only be used when the asset has a probable resale value; for instance aircraft or vehicles.

The most common form of operating lease is known as contract hire. Essentially this gains the customer the use of the asset together with added services. A very common example of an asset on contract hire would be a fleet of vehicles.


A residual value is the value of the asset at the end of the lease term. Residual values play an important role in an operating lease that is used in conjunction with equipment that retains value at the end of the contract period. The residual value will be left out of the rental calculation. Either the leasing company or a third party will take the risk that the asset will not be worth the amount of the residual value at the end of the lease.


Under a balloon rental payments are made over the period of the lease, sometimes a larger payment or lump sum called a balloon payment is made at the beginning or end of the lease period. Often the customer would pay a balloon payment on the last day of their lease.


A lease purchase is essentially the same as HP; the main difference is in the terms and structure of repayments. Some finance companies differentiate Lease Purchase from Hire Purchase by using it where the customer wishes to defer payment of a substantial part of the asset cost until the end of the agreement.

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