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Unsafe conditions spark security deposit dispute

There is a saying that you get what you pay for, and this is certainly true in the world of renting real estate. If you are paying tens of thousands of dollars to rent a luxury property, you expect that you will get a property that warrants that type of financial contribution.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. For instance, an adult film company recently rented a mansion on the beach from NBA star Chris Bosh and his wife. The company evidently paid $138,000 in one month's rent and a security deposit to use the 10,755-square-foot property. What they got, however, was not what they paid for according to a recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the property was in disrepair when the company moved in. They discovered rat droppings, problems with the plumbing, inadequate Internet service, leaks and extensive toxic mold.

The company requested the security deposit back, but the landlords refused for reasons that are currently unknown.

It remains to be seen how this case will be resolved, but similar claims can be resolved in a few different ways. The landlord could return the deposit to the tenants and move on; the tenants could forfeit their deposit for breaking a lease early; the landlord could address the problems cited by tenants and make necessary repairs. The solution will depend largely on the terms of the rental agreement and the reason for the dispute.

It is crucial that you know what you are getting into when it comes to renting property. If you are spending a lot of money on rent, or if the security deposit required is unusually large, it would be wise to ensure you understand what you are paying for. Keep in mind, too, that in Texas, barring any city ordinances, landlords can charge virtually whatever they want for security deposits.

In the event that you wind up in a dispute over the return of a security deposit, you can consult an attorney to discuss your options. In many cases, an attorney can help you negotiate a solution quickly and fairly. In other cases, more aggressive legal action is necessary and your attorney can help you file a legal claim.

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