ATLANTA — Members of the U.S. Senate are pressing a real estate company for answers about its 40-year listing agreements.
A law passed earlier this year essentially put an end to controversial contracts in Georgia, but that’s not the end of the problems – the law only affects new contracts.
MV Realty told Channel 2 Action News that for nearly a year now -- essentially since Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray started reporting on this -- they have stopped signing up new customers for the homeowner benefit program.
A new letter from the U.S. Senate though, focuses on all those people who already are bound by MV Realty contracts.
Terrie Farr was under contract to sell her Clayton County home on July 31. Instead, she learned about a nearly $9,000 MV Realty lien on the property.
“They mentioned that it was a lien on my property, and I was devastated,” Farr said.
We’ve told you in a series of Channel 2 Action News investigations about MV Realty and its 40-year listing agreements.
You get a small check now but a big penalty later – 3% of the value of your home -- if you don’t use them to sell your house.
Even after the state of Georgia passed a bill this year that bans the liens for future agreements, thousands of homeowners like Farr are still bound by the old 40-year listing agreements they signed.
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“It was a spot on my Facebook. And I you know, I thought, ‘Oh, this sounds great.’ You know, $300. They helped me get out of my little hole that I was in. And so I reached out. I reached out to her. And that’s when my nightmare began,” Farr said.
Just this month, three U.S. Senate committee chairmen sent MV Realty a letter, writing that although MV Realty “temporarily suspended” new enrollment, it continues to advertise the homeowner benefit program on its website.
“We are concerned by MV Realty’s practices for the homeowners already enrolled in the program and the potential for future harm if HBP enrollment resumes,” the letter said.
Since our series of Channel 2 Action News investigations first exposed the problems with MV Realty, six state attorneys general have taken legal action, and 16 states, including Georgia, have enacted new legislation targeting the company’s controversial contracts and liens.
“It is wrong and abusive,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said.
MV Realty said in a statement, “MV Realty remains confident the Homeowner Benefit Program fully complies with the law and benefits consumers who select MV Realty as their listing agent. We will fully cooperate with the committees involved and provide a fulsome response to each request the Senators outlined.”
MV Realty said it is not currently signing people up for 40-year listings.
It’s the Georgia attorney general who could take action to terminate people who have already signed like Terrie Farr.
Gray checked back with the AG’s office again on Monday. They said this is still an open and active AG investigation.
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