Rent Concessions, Reimposable Discounts, and the Return of Medieval Contract Penalties


This article discusses penalty damages in consumer contracts. It focuses on rent concessions in apartment leases, and includes lesser discussions of deferred payments and interest in the purchase of cars, furniture and appliances. The sales pitch is a deferral or discount which is later reimposed if the buyer breaches, with some contracts keying on small breaches such as late payment. In contracts where the reimposed penalty reimburses the seller well beyond the consideration anticipated in the normal performance of the agreement, the reimposed discount is an illegal penalty. These contracts are pervasive but for the most part go unchalllenged.


Commercial Law | Consumer Protection Law | Contracts | Economics | Housing Law | Law and Economics

Date of this Version

September 2006