Florida Attorney General Files Complaint Against MV Realty

December 6, 2022

Florida’s attorney general has filed a complaint against MV Realty for engaging “in a complex and deceptive scheme that attempts to skirt existing Florida law with the goal of swindling consumers out of their home equity.”

Called the Homeowner Benefit Program, the brokerage offers to pay up front money to homeowners whether or not they have plans to sell their home. In exchange for between $300 and $5,000, homeowners sign an agreement stating if they decide to sell, MV Realty has the exclusive right to list their home on commission, generally 6% per the agreement. MV Realty operates in 33 states and has more than 500 licensed agents.

The agreement also states if the homeowner defaults during those 40 years, whether by losing the home through foreclosure, listing the home with another real estate agent or listing it for sale by owner, the homeowner would owe MV Realty an early termination fee equal to 3% of the property’s fair market value. Homeowners also waive their right to be party to a class action lawsuit.

“For many Floridians, their home is their most important asset and the cornerstone of their financial stability,” said Ashley Moody, Florida’s attorney general. “For a company to prey on unsuspecting homeowners in a way that locks them into a 40-year obligation designed to siphon away equity from the property is disgraceful. Today, I filed legal action to end this deceitful practice and protect Florida homeowners from further harm.”

The contract allows MV Realty to place a lien on their home. The attorney general’s lawsuit states that the liens are illegal under Florida law. Moody said the liens often make it difficult or sometimes impossible for the homeowner to refinance or otherwise tap into home equity. Additionally, the company uses abusive and deceptive telemarketing practices, including calling millions of people on the National Do-Not-Call Registry and leaving millions of unwanted, pre-recorded voicemails, according to Moody.

The attorney general is asking the judge to prohibit MV Realty from enforcing any of its current Homeowner Benefit contracts and prevent the company from engaging in deceptive business practices going forward. It also requests that MV Realty be ordered to return the money it wrongfully took from homeowners and pay civil penalties.

Multiple state regulators recently confirmed their offices are examining MV Realty.

ALTA supports efforts to protect consumers by prohibiting the filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records, a practice that creates impediments and increases the cost and complexity of selling, refinancing or transferring real estate. ALTA advocates for state laws and regulations preventing enforcement of Non-Title Recorded Agreements for Personal Services (NTRAPS).

A subgroup of ALTA’s State Legislative/Regulatory Action Committee developed a model bill prohibiting unfair service agreements.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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