When applying for an apartment, I signed a reservation agreement with a rental quote on it: $1000 rent + $70 for pet rent.

After signing the lease, I noticed that the property manager checked the box saying the $1000 rent INCLUDED the $70 pet rent.

My first month of rent, I was only charged $1000.

For the second month, I am being charged $1070. I presented this issue to my property manager and he said the lease had a mistake on it. He sent over an addendum for me to sign, raising my rent to $1070 due to the pet rent.

Am I legally obligated to sign this new addendum, or can I stick with what the lease says? There is a clause in the lease that says "the Lease contract is the complete agreement" and that "no other promises, agreements, or representations matter".

  • 3
    Jurisdiction will probably matter, but I suspect most jurisdictions will be on your side. The existence of the checkbox makes it clear that this is a normal variation of a common contract, so this is not some kind of glaring mistake that gets contracts invalidated.
    – MSalters
    Jul 1, 2020 at 23:31
  • 1
    You may well be able to insist on the lease terms as written, as @MSalters observes, but you should also consider the relationship aspect. If before signing you actually had agreed to $1000 + $70, it may behoove you to pay what you agreed to pay. Taking advantage of this drafting error might make your relationship with the landlord unpleasant, as doing so would demonstrate your unwillingness to stand by what you previously agreed to, and may be seen as amoral. Jul 1, 2020 at 23:52
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Thanks for your insight! Unfortunately, the relationship was tarnished by management immediately after the lease was signed. Our unit is infested with mice and management has gaslighted me. I had a widely-known exterminator company come out to assess. They wrote a 25-page report about the severity of the infestation. Only after I went through the legal channels to remedy the situation, management finally had an exterminator set traps. They have been sending me snarky emails, threatening to get their legal team involved because I left a factual review online. It's a mess.
    – Mike L
    Jul 2, 2020 at 0:09
  • That sounds awful. Putting myself in your place, I can certainly understand your disinclination to be conciliatory. Jul 2, 2020 at 1:19
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    Are they on course to spend $840 per year on extra pest control? If there is going to be a mutually signed amendment to the lease, a clear pest control commitment might be of value to you to memorialize at the same time.
    – user662852
    Jul 2, 2020 at 19:10

2 Answers 2


The written document is not the contract - the contract is what you agreed

It seems clear that you agreed that you would be paying $1000 rent + $70 for pet rent. That is what you contracted to do.

In writing the contract, the manager made a mistake and documented that you would be paying $1,000 including pet rent. You were not aware of this when you entered the contract so in your mind this is not what you were agreeing to.

Now, no one can see into your mind. If you want to lie under oath and say that the written document is what you agreed to then the parol evidence rule means that no one will be able to prove otherwise and you will win the case. All it costs is your integrity - is that worth more or less than $70 a month?

Also, if I were your landlord I would make damn sure that you complied with everything else you agreed to in that document and you probably don't want that.

Remember the contract is unimportant if the relationship is solid.


You are never legally obligated to sign any contract – compulsion voids a contract. If the courts decide that the box check means $1070 or that the meaning of the contract is whatever the landlord deems, you may be forced to live with that interpretation, until you get a better court ruling. You are never ever legally compelled to sign an agreement, you always have the option of not signing. Moreover, the landlord cannot throw you out for not signing.

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