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No refund of the rent even before signing the lease??? --urgent

Posted by MK on September 02, 1998 at 21:11:05:

I had a verbal agreement with the landlord a few weeks ago,
with paying 4 months' rent up front with my certified check
by the landlord's request. It was an apt. for me and my
brother, and both being an international student we had to
provide a guarantor, but he also wanted us to pay the first
month's rent + the last 3 months' rent up front. I knew
that as long as we have a guarantor who has a good credit
history and strong financial background we don't have to
pay as much as 3 months rent up front, but we had no choice
because the landlord insisted that we pay, or he won't rent
the apartment to us.
So I made a certified check from my account and paid him
before signing the lease, to hold the place. The landlord
said we will have to sign the least after the guarantor
fills out his form and sends the notarized form to the
landlord.
The lease should start from Sep. 1 and he said it is ok to
sign the lease by the end of August, so everything happened
so far is just filling out my application form and paying
the rent up front with the landlord's verbal agreement to
rent the apartment to us. By some reasons we had to cancel
the application before signing the lease, which was about
10 days before the starting date of the lease, and the
landlord refused to give us the full refund of the rent we
paid before. He gave us back the last 3 month's rent back
deducing quite some amount of money from it for the expense
of new classifieds on the newspaper and phone calls he has
to make, on condition that my brother signs a paper saying
that we will not get the full refund of the first month's
rent if the apartment is not rerented or he will give the
rent back prorated by the move in date of new renter.
It's been 10 days since this happened, and I've been
checking the classifieds section of the newspaper he said
he would use, but haven't found any single line about it
yet.
I think it is inappropriate for the landlord to charge me
for the expense of finding a new renter, and I should get
the full refund for the first month's rent and this
additional charge, since I cancelled my application
before signing the lease. I know I'm not in a very good
position because my brother signed a paper written by the
landlord later, but it was under a situation that he was
pushed to sign it to get the rent for the last 3 month,
actually not even the full refund but which was deduced
by the new charge.
Is there any way I can solve this problem?

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