Breaking a lease may be costly

My family and I recently moved to a new subdivision, which includes several duplexes crowded together.

Dear Annie: My family and I recently moved to a new subdivision, which includes several duplexes crowded together.

We were told it was a quiet area, and when we checked it out, it seemed very pleasant. In fact, our lease states it has to stay quiet.

When we were choosing the place, I informed the landlord that I do not like dogs and cannot tolerate barking.

He neglected to tell us that there are several dogs in the other duplexes and let us move in while withholding this information.

He refuses to tell the dog owners to put shock collars on their dogs or otherwise keep them quiet. I cannot even go to my mailbox without one of these dogs barking at me.

My question is, can we get out of our lease because the landlord lied?

This sort of thing has happened to us more than once. Why do some landlords think they have to lie to get people to rent from them? — Peeved in Columbia, Mo.

Dear Peeved: Every state is different, but in most instances, even if the lease says something about noise, it is not as inclusive as you may believe.

If the landlord actually told you that there are no dogs in the neighborhood, you may have grounds to ask a judge to let you out of the lease.

But if the landlord made no specific mention of dogs, you are likely stuck.

However, please note that in order to get out of the lease, you will need to file a lawsuit.

Decide what it’s worth to you.

Dear Annie: Seven years ago, my mother was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune connective tissue disorder that literally means “hard skin.”

Mom first noticed that the skin on her fingers and face was becoming thick and hard.

Then her physical appearance began to change. She could no longer make a fist, grasp doorknobs or open jars without assistance.

As the disease progressed, she lost the ability to button her clothes or tie her shoes.

By the time she was diagnosed, the disease had caused scar tissue to grow on her lungs.

She can now walk only short distances and is on disability.

June is National Scleroderma Awareness Month. Scleroderma affects more than 300,000 Americans and is more common in women than men.

Its onset is typically between the ages of 25 and 55. The disease affects children, too. There is no known cause or cure, and few treatments are available. In many cases, it can be fatal.

My mother joined a support group through the Scleroderma Foundation, and the friends she made there changed her outlook on life.

I am proud of the inspiration she has been to others.

Every year, the Scleroderma Foundation raises more than $1 million toward finding the cause of and cure for this disease. If you could help your readers become aware of the effects of scleroderma, many might receive an earlier diagnosis, and it could save lives. Thank you. — E.C., Boston

Dear E.C.: We appreciate the opportunity to mention the Scleroderma Foundation and the work they do.

Interested readers can contact them at 1-800-722-HOPE (1-800-722-4673) (scleroderma.org).

Dear Annie: In your reply to Frustrated Teen Mom in Omaha, you failed to mention the option of adoption. It is hard enough to adopt a baby with so many young mothers keeping the child, so it is doubly important that adoption be mentioned as an alternative.

Thank you. — Minot, N.D.

Dear Minot: We recommended Planned Parenthood because counselors there will discuss all possibilities, including adoption, as well as provide prenatal care.

A few readers suggested an exclusively pro-life website, Community Pregnancy Centers (cpclink.com), which some of our readers may prefer.

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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