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I-TEAM: State budget language curtails MV Realty’s business practices across Ohio

CARLISLE — MV Realty, the troubled real estate company locking homeowners in the Miami Valley and across Ohio into confusing 40-year contracts, will be stopped from entering into any new agreements beginning Oct. 3, according to language in the state’s biennial budget Gov. Mike DeWine signed this week.

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Carlisle resident Debbie Chasteen wants the language in the budget bill stretched to include homeowners such as herself. She signed with MV Realty in June 2022 without fully understanding the contract.

She says she’s never selling her home. But if she does, the property is under contract with MV Realty to be her exclusive listing agent.

“I feel like I was lied to, deceived and everything else,” Chasteen said Thursday to John Bedell, News Center 7 I-Team lead investigative reporter.

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Nevertheless, Chasteen said she’s glad Ohio lawmakers have taken action against MV Realty.

State Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) is the lawmaker who was able to get language into the budget that addressed MV Realty’s business practices.

“Well, I think it’s a good policy. I mean, these listing agreements were problematic for consumers that really didn’t know what they were signing,” said Hillyer, who represents northeast Ohio. “They weren’t really fair to subsequent buyers and sellers, and they weren’t really fair to lenders that were being advertised as having first priority lien. And largely, these things were affecting the elderly and the poor,” he said.

“So I was happy to have gotten it in the House budget. I was happy to see that it survived the Senate changes and I was happy to see that it survived conference. And was thrilled and elated to see that the governor signed it into law.”

According to the language in the budget bill, new MV Realty deals will be unenforceable and unrecordable on the property rolls at county recorder’s offices beginning Oct. 3, 2023. Ohio is the latest of several states that have introduced legislation to shorten the length of MV Realty’s decades-long listing agreements or outlaw its business model altogether.

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Ohio’s version of the provision does not seek to invalidate contracts that customers, such as Chasteen, have already signed. The I-Team has found that Debbie is not alone, as there are more than 700 Ohioans who are existing MV Realty customers.

“I think they should fight to have it put in there, that it covers all people that had any dealings with [MV Realty],” Chasteen said. " That’s my feelings on it because they’re shady.”

Hillyer said state lawmakers could go back later and do something to address MV Realty’s current contracts.

“Now that we’ve stopped the bleeding, as you would say, I think that gives a little bit more time to start dissecting that -- what could be done, what should be done,” Hillyer said. “The goal in the budget was to just stop this behavior totally, which we’ve now done. So certainly I don’t think that that’s being foreclosed upon.”

MV Realty, in response to a request from News Center 7 for comment, offered the following: “MV’s attorneys are currently reviewing the language included in the Ohio budget. Following that review and analysis, MV will strictly adhere to the law and [sic] Ohio and every state.”

MV Realty also confirmed that the company is continuing its voluntary pause in issuing new contracts.