Ohio AG Joins Other States Filing Lawsuits Against MV Realty

February 16, 2023

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against MV Realty of Ohio, the company’s founder and its principal broker to stop them from negotiating real estate contracts that violate Ohio law and from practicing real estate without proper licensing.

Yost’s office filed the request in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on behalf of its client, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.

“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.”

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Florida have also filed lawsuits against MV Realty, alleging that the company misled consumers over the terms of the brokerage's “Homeowner Benefit Program.”

ALTA, which advocates for state laws and regulations preventing the enforcement of Non-Title Recorded Agreements for Personal Services (NTRAPS), applauded Yost for his action.

“A home often represents a consumer’s largest financial investment, and their property rights must be protected,” said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. “Good public policy should support the certainty of landownership by ensuring there are no unreasonable restraints on future ability to sell or refinance property due to unwarranted transactional costs.”

ALTA has prioritized combating this abusive and anti-consumer activity in the marketplace, which adds costs and complications to the transfer or financing of real estate. ALTA has worked with national stakeholders to design model legislation to make these types of unfair agreements unenforceable, prevent the recording of the agreements in land records and provide consumers with options for seeking damages. Seven states have already introduced legislation this year to address this issue.

Ohio’s lawsuit alleges that MV Realty founder Amanda Zachman and broker Diana Remar confuse and mislead homeowners with the company’s contracts that omit crucial information and language required by state law.

Specifically, they deceive Ohioans by providing clients cash as a “loan alternative” in exchange for using MV Realty as their exclusive real-estate listing broker for a given period. 

During that time, if the homeowner lists the property for sale without using MV Realty as its broker or the home is foreclosed upon, or if the homeowner’s heirs try to sell the home or the homeowner simply wants to cancel the deal, the defendants seek to be paid 3% of the property value — with both the percentage and the property’s value determined by MV Realty, per the misleading agreement created by the defendants.

Whenever such an instance occurs, the defendants take out a lien on the homeowner’s property, issuing an additional memorandum asserting MV Realty’s exclusive right to list the house, thus binding the property owner to the terms of the agreement.

“The Ohio Land Title Association appreciates Attorney General Yost’s efforts to stop MV Realty from negotiating nefarious real estate contracts in our state,” said Mark Bennett, executive director of the Ohio Land Title Association and ALTA member. “These contracts take advantage of consumers and hinder their ability to transfer real property.” 

What MV Realty’s agreements leave out, Yost’s lawsuit says, are these vital state-mandated details:

  • The name of the agent to be used.
  • Required fair housing language.
  • Required anti-blockbusting language.
  • A clear statement for the expiration of the agreement.
  • A clear statement of representation.

The lawsuit also maintains that Zachman, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla., is not licensed in Ohio as a real estate salesperson but is illegally acting as one through MV Realty and Remar, who is a licensed Ohio broker.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].