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I-TEAM: Florida AG files complaint against company offering homeowners quick cash for 40-year lien

There are new developments in the I-Team’s months-long investigation into confusing contracts locking Miami Valley homeowners into 40-year real estate agreements.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office is now suing MV Realty over its “deceptive, unfair and unconscionable business practices,” according to a release.

News Center 7 and its Cox Media Group sister stations in seven states have been working on a nationwide investigation into MV Realty for months.

In city after city homeowners have said they had no idea they signed away so much for so little.

>> RELATED: I-TEAM: Real estate racket? Company offers homeowners quick cash in exchange for 40-year lien

Now, after the I-Team’s investigation, the Florida AG’s Office is taking the company to court.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday afternoon, the State AG’s Office said MV is trying to skirt Florida law to take advantage of homeowners.

In the court filing, Florida’s AG wants the company to pay back money MV “wrongfully took from homeowners” and pay civil fees for what the AG’s office calls a “willful violation of the law.”

They are also asking the court to block MV Realty from enforcing existing agreements with consumers.

MV Realty is based in Florida, but an I-Team investigation found the company is doing business in 33 states.

This includes Ohio where at least 600 homeowners statewide are under contract with the company, including at least 146 here in the Miami Valley.

As the I-Team reported last week, MV Realty offers $300-$5,000 to homeowners in exchange to use the company as an exclusive listing broker if they should ever sell their home.

“However, after accepting the payment, homeowners discover that MV Realty files a 40-year lien on the property that requires paying 3 percent of the value of the home to MV Realty, regardless of whether the company ever provides any real estate listing services,” a release from the Florida AG’s Office states.

I-Team reporter John Bedell has spoken to homeowners who have been sued by MV Realty for listing their home with someone else.

Multiple lawyers have told the I-Team MV Realty’s contracts seem intentionally confusing and now the Florida Attorney General’s Office is making the same allegation in a lawsuit.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: I-TEAM: Lawmakers question company offering homeowners quick cash in exchange for 40-year lien

It is unclear if this lawsuit will benefit non-Florida consumers.

When the I-Team reached out to the Florida AG’s Office about how this lawsuit affects people outside their state, specifically in Ohio, they sent this statement:

‘The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act authorizes our office to investigate and file actions for conduct by Florida companies that affects out-of-state residents. We encourage out-of-state consumers affected by the defendants, including MV Realty PBC, LLC, or any other MV Realty entity (or personnel) operating out of Florida, to file complaints with our office so that we can investigate further, and to also reach out to their state attorneys general for further information about other investigations or actions.

Complaints can be filed with our office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or online at MyFloridaLegal.com.”

The I-Team reached out to MV Realty for comment and a spokesperson issued this response:

“Earlier today, the Florida Attorney General issued a press release stating she filed a complaint against MV Realty. Our attorney is reviewing the complaint. MV Realty has helped more than 30,000 satisfied clients across the country and in Florida through our Homeowner Benefit Program. Our company is proud to employ hundreds of locally licensed real estate agents, including many in Florida. MV Realty has always been committed to transparency in all of our business transactions, and we are confident that any inquiry will confirm that our team has operated in full compliance with the law.”