What do I need to know about taking over an existing auto lease?

This is a follow-up, sort of, to my previous lease related thread.

Since my negotiating skills pretty much suck, I know that I wouldn’t be likely to get the best deal on a new lease anyway. Aside from that, since as per the response to the previous thread, it looks like the best deals are to be had in the 60-month category, I figure that taking over an existing lease would let me take advantage of that without committing to something for 5 years.

I know that there are all sorts of gotcha’s that can be unleashed upon the unsuspecting lessee. For example I know that the condition of the vehicle must demonstrate use that is no worse than “normal wear and tear” - something which apparently the lessor gets to determine. And I know that you can get insurance to cover some of these unexpected costs. But can you still get such insurance if you are taking over a lease that doesn’t have it? Also, do you need to execute a formal contract with the person you are taking over from or do you just work out the transfer with the leasing company. If the latter, how do you document the state of the vehicle to account for any damage done by the current lessee.

From a cost perspective it seems like it could be a cheap way to go, but it also seems to be something of a potential minefield. I know there is plenty info on the intertubez regarding leasing, but at this point I just want to know how stupid would I be to try to take over a lease rather than working out my own deal from the beginning.

You might find the FAQ over at swapalease.com helpful, even if you don’t use their services.