I-TEAM: Lawyer explains ‘very serious allegations’ against MV Realty for ‘swindling’ homeowners

Florida’s Attorney General is suing a company tying up Miami Valley homeowners with 40-year real estate contracts.

A lawyer spoke to I-Team’s John Bedell about what she calls “very serious allegations” against MV Realty.

Sarah Mancini is an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

She reviewed complaints against MV Realty and is concerned the company is targeting low-income homeowners.

“The business model seems to prey on people that are in financial distress and put them into a situation where they’re going to owe much more money than what they were being given and really not having the full picture described,” Mancini said.

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

In the lawsuit filed against MV, the Florida AG’s Office said what the company is doing is “deceptive” and “abusive” and that they’re “swindling” homeowners.

Florida’s AG wants the company to pay back the money it “wrongfully took from homeowners” and to pay civil fees.

They’re also asking a court to block MV from enforcing existing agreements with consumers.

Mancini calls what the AG’s office is seeking in the lawsuit “very powerful.”

“A good way to send a signal to companies that if you engage in these kinds of practices, you’re going to regret it,” Mancini said.

Florida-based MV Realty has been the focus of an investigation by News Center 7 and our Cox Media Group sister stations for months.

I-Team found the company is doing business in 33 states.

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

In return for quick cash, MV Realty agreements bind homeowners to a 40-year contract.

Sell your home to one of their agents, or pay a cancellation fee of three percent of your home’s value.

The company places liens on customer properties to enforce their exclusive right to sell your home.

In city after city, homeowners have said they did not understand what they were signing up for.

In a statement MV Realty said they are reviewing the complaint from the Florida AG’s Office:

“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.”

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