It seems ridiculous, but you may find yourself arguing with the leasing agent about what "rent" is.

You probably think it's the amount you pay monthly for the right to live in your apartment. Most people and most dictionaries would agree with you.

But if your corporate landlord practices the "rent concessions" scam, the leasing agent may tell you that the"rent" is hundreds of dollars more than what you're actually paying. We've seen plenty of examples in which a landlord reports the "rent" as being as much as $3,500 for a one-bedroom in an aging building.

You may point out that no sane person would pay $3,500 for a one-bedroom apartment in your building. The leasing agent may concede that there is no way in hell that they could get that much for an apartment in your neighborhood. However, he or she still will contend that the "rent" is $3,500 but you got a "concession" (discount).

Last year, you may have been tricked into signing a lease that listed $3,500 as the "rent" because you were told that this is just a formality required by city rent control laws -- that the real monthly rent will be what you pay. Now the leasing agent points to your signature as proof that you agreed that the "rent" is $3,500.

Know the law -- a lease is void if either party is deceived.

You should be prepared for a surreal argument. Our advice -- stick to your guns. "Rent" is what you pay for living in your apartment; it's the amount on your check; it's the amount that was advertised; it's what every other person in the world (except employees of companies practicing the "rent concessions" scam thinks the word rent means.

Rent is rent is rent is rent. Give no ground.