SEATTLE — MV Realty’s business practice is simple: They give you cash. If you don’t sell your home, you can keep it. But if you do sell, you must use their agent to sell your home.
However, these are 40-year deals that can follow you to your grave, and now there are lawsuits and other legal action regarding this company, in Washington state and all over the country.
Florida-based MV Realty operates in 33 states and has more than 250 deals just in the Puget Sound region.
Now, the company finds itself fighting two more lawsuits from state Attorneys General over its embattled Homeowner Benefit Agreement.
Florida, Pennsylvania and Massasschusetts have filed lawsuits against the company, which is accused of misleading homeowners into signing 40-year exclusive listing deals.
“Attorney General Shapiro has been shocked by what this office has been hearing from consumers who’ve done business with MV Realty,” said Pennsylvania Assistant Attorney General Debra Djupman Warring.
MV Realty issued a statement in response to the Pennsylvania lawsuit:
“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.”
Two other states, North Carolina and Georgia, say they are also investigating the company.
State Senator Mark Mullet from Issaquah, held a hearing of the Senate Business, Financial Services & Trade Committee, on this business practice.
The committee called Raven Lampkin of Bellingham, one of the people in KIRO 7′s previous report on MV Realty, who was alarmed to learn her 78-year-old father James Heath had signed a deal with the company.
“It was predatory tactics, really, in my opinion,” said Lampkin.
She was able to cancel her father’s contract in the company’s three day window.
Sen. Mullet says he is concerned about the marketing of these products to the elderly – something a former MV Realty employee told us in our first investigation.
“Elderly residents of Washington should feel like people to call them up and put them in deals that are financially good for them,” said Mullet. “They should be able to answer the phone without fear of this stuff.”
MV Realty Lobbyist Tony Sermonti told the committee that the company is not taking advantage of anyone.
“There’s no targeting in terms of, you know, specific groups of people or, you know, things like that,” said Sermonti. “But I can tell you a lot of the customers are walk ups, you know, in terms of folks reaching out to the company.”
Mullet says the next step is writing legislation to protect consumers.
“In this upcoming session, there will be legislation,” said Mullet. “How that looks exactly. I’m not sure. But it seems like most likely maybe capping some of the agreements closer to five years. So it’s a little bit shorter, more realistic in terms of the time frame.”
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