I-Team: Ohio AG announces lawsuit against MV Realty, founder, broker for ‘misleading’ customers

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday a lawsuit against MV Realty, its founder and its principal broker for “misleading” its customers.

As the I-Team has reported since November, MV Realty is doing business in 33 states, including Ohio where the I-Team found at least 600 homeowners statewide under contract with the company— and at least 146 in the Miami Valley.

Ohio has become the fourth state to sue the realty company.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: I-TEAM: Ohio attorney general ‘reviewing’ allegations against MV Realty

MV Realty is accused of locking Miami Valley homeowners into 40-year real estate contracts the homeowners have said are confusing.

The lawsuit alleges that MV Realty founder Amanda Zachman and broker Diana Remar confused and mislead homeowners with the company’s “Homeowner Benefits Agreements,” contracts that leave out crucial information and language required by state law.

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In return for quick cash, MV Realty agreements bind homeowners to a 40-year contract, requiring them to sell their home with one of their agents or pay a cancellation fee of three percent of your home’s value. The deals are secured with liens attached to properties and even transfers to customer’s heirs if they die.

>> I-TEAM: Lawyer explains ‘very serious allegations’ against MV Realty

“Deliberately tricking people to make money off their homeownership is a shameful business model,” Yost said. “If it’s truly a good deal, all the details will be clearly explained in writing. Ohio doesn’t need to tolerate the defendants’ deceitful practices.”

Yost is asking the court to put their unlicensed practice out of business.

The I-Team reached out to MV Realty Wednesday for reaction to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office lawsuit against the company. In an email, an MV Realty spokesperson said, “We have just received the complaint, and our attorneys are reviewing.”

The Florida-based real estate company has refused the I-Team’s repeated requests for an on-camera interview for months.

In an email sent to the I-Team two weeks ago, an MV Realty spokesperson said, “MV Realty is in active litigation and can not [sic] make specific comments as I am sure you understand. MV Realty remains dedicated to working closely with regulators and attorneys generals [sic] to address any concerns.”

That spokesperson included the following statement on behalf of the company:

“MV Realty has helped more than 35,000 satisfied homeowners nationwide through our Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) by providing up to $5,000 that can be used to pay for mortgages, utility bills or a child’s school supplies. We are proud that our teams in states are built with local, licensed real estate agents who have developed client relationships with households across 33 states.

“New and innovative business models, like the HBA, can transform established industries and can sometimes draw questions from critics or outright hostility from those whose existing business model is threatened. However, to suggest that MV Realty has engaged in unfair or deceptive practices is simply false.

“MV Realty is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, and attorneys general where needed to discuss these questions and demonstrate our commitment to transparency and oversight in the work to help homeowners buy and sell homes. We are confident that after a full airing of the facts, these discussions will reinforce how MV Realty’s business transactions are legal and ethical and that our team operates in full compliance with state and federal laws.”

This is a developing story and we will continue providing updates.

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