Q: I rented an apartment that was advertised at $1,500 per month "plus discount." My yearlong lease gave me a monthly discount of $100, so my real rent was $1,400. I had to break the lease after eight months, and now have to repay the discount, $800, for those months. I know, I know -- I signed the lease with this provision, but I'm still wondering if there's any way I can challenge this fee. --Mary S. A: You're being hit with a reimposed discount, and you certainly can challenge it. No doubt your landlord will take this sum out of your security deposit, so you'll have to sue in small claims court to get it back. Here's your argument. First, understand that your landlord is entitled to the actual losses she suffers as a result of your lease-breaking, but no more. By not paying the rent -- $1,400 per month -- for the rest of the lease term, or four months, you've potentially deprived her of four months of rent. Landlords in most states must make reasonable efforts...
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