ATLANTA — Two more states took legal action Wednesday against a real estate company signing up Georgia homeowners to 40-year contracts that come with a very expensive catch.
Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray has been tracking this story for nearly two years now.
Gray was at Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr’s office Wednesday, where Carr has an open investigation into MV Realty. Florida has already takenlegal action against the company. Now, attorneys general in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also filed suits against MV Realty over their homeowner benefit agreements.
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Under the terms of the agreement, homeowners can borrow quick cash, but they’re bound for the next 40 years to either sell their home with MV Realty or pay the company 3% of the value of the sale.
Julia Henry, 75, learned she was in breach of the agreements when she was sued by MV Realty.
“It’s stressful. I can’t sleep at night,” Henry said.
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Gray and other investigators talked to homeowners from Massachusetts to Florida who all had strikingly similar stories.
“I’m angry. I’m angry. I don’t like being taken advantage of,” Patricia Bandy said.
“They come knocking on the door and said they were giving people $500,” Charles Meredith said.
“You find out that little $600 check wasn’t worth this at all,” Sheila Feliciano said.
Channel 2 Action News checked Georgia Superior Court Clerk records and found 3,321 MV Realty homeowner agreements in 104 Georgia counties, and of those, about 2,000 in metro Atlanta.
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The new lawsuits allege that MV Realty’s contracts aren’t just confusing, they are also illegal.
“In two short years, MV Realty has caused chaos really across the country,” Atlanta Legal Aid lawyer Dina Franch said.
“It’s far outside the norm of industry standards and not something consumers can reasonably expect,” the Pennsylvania deputy attorney general said.
Franch helped Henry get the MV Realty lawsuit against her dropped, but said an attorney general lawsuit is the way to deal with the larger problem, which is impacting tens of thousands of homeowners in 33 states.
“They can bring universal relief,” Franch said. “They can make extinct this species that needs to be extinguished.”
MV Realty responded in a statement Wednesday night:
“We are confident that after a full airing of the facts, the conclusion will be that MV Realty’s business transactions are legal and ethical.”
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