RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are new details in an ABC11 Troubleshooter investigation of a realty company accused of tricking homeowners into signing deceptive contracts.
A judge ordered MV Realty to temporarily halt its services in North Carolina. This is in response to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein filing a lawsuit against the company earlier this year.
Troubleshooter Diane Wilson first investigated MV Realty and its practices last year. MV Realty's Homeowner Benefit Program caught Maria Calder's attention.
The program offers quick cash, in exchange for a 40-year agreement on your home, if you ever want to sell it.
Calder got the money from MV Realty and did eventually sell her home, but through another real estate company. Even though MV Realty didn't sell her house, it still received more than $6,000 at closing because of that 40-year agreement.
Stein said it is that agreement that is unlawful. After our investigation, Stein filed his lawsuit, which alleges the company violated state laws with unfair and deceptive practices and unfair debt collection by tricking homeowners into signing a 40-year real estate agreement.
In response to the judge granting Stein's motion for a preliminary injunction, the attorney general said, "I'm pleased that Judge Davis agreed with our office that MV Realty cannot continue to take advantage of hardworking homeowners while this case continues. This company has preyed on too many North Carolinians, and we'll do everything in our power to provide relief for the more than 2,000 victims and to make sure that they can't harm others in our state ever again."
Stein also contended that in the judge's order, the judge indicated that the Department of Justice will likely succeed on its allegations that MV Realty has acted in ways that have the capacity to deceive, and actually have deceived, homeowners in North Carolina.
Besides this action, the Unfair Real Estate Agreement Act became law last week. The law prohibits "Right to List" service agreements - such as the ones used by MV Realty - that exceed one year in duration and purport to run with the land, create a lien or security interest on a homeowner's property, or are otherwise assigned without the homeowner's clear consent.
A spokesperson for MV Realty provided a statement that said in part, "In North Carolina alone we have served more than 2,200 satisfied customers. Following the attorney general's two-year, taxpayer-funded investigation, only 60 complaints of those 2,200 customers have been identified -- that's less than 2.8%. In the specifics of those complaints, it's clear there was no proof of deception or abusive practices. It is unfortunate that an alternative to traditional real estate agreements that is beneficial to North Carolina homeowners is somehow being portrayed as harmful or misleading. We are committed to continuing this case in court."