Action 9

Action 9 investigation sparks push for legislation aimed at helping homeowners

ORLANDO, FLa. — There’s a new push to stop business practices Action 9 first exposed two years ago.

“They were two notaries. He didn’t tell me anything was going to be notarized,” Eleanor Gardner said.

Gardner was the first victim Action 9 interviewed about a real estate deal with MV Realty, where she was paid $1,000, but it was a deal she quickly regretted.


Now two years later, a multi-state investigation by Action 9 and Cox Media Group stations has led to attorneys general in a handful of states, including Florida, filing lawsuits against MV Realty.

“Last summer, we realized that real estate brokerage firms were paying consumers as little as $300 to sign listing agreements for as long as 40 years,” Elizabeth Blosser said.

Blosser is with the American Land Title Association, a trade group of title insurance agents who review and insure property titles to protect homeowners and mortgage lenders.

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The practices of MV Realty caught their eye.

“I recently spoke to a disabled veteran who received multiple phone calls urging her to sign one of these agreements,” Blosser said.

Under the agreements, MV Realty would pay homeowners a fee up front.

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In exchange, homeowners signed a contract giving MV Realty the exclusive right to sell their home for the next 40 years. Those contracts could be enforced by a lien. Many consumers claim they didn’t know what they were getting into, and Florida’s lawsuit called the practice a “complex and deceptive scheme.”

Now, in addition to the state lawsuits, the American Land Title Association is pushing state lawmakers to pass legislation that would stop these agreements from being recorded and attached to people’s properties, making them unenforceable. Blosser is hoping that also helps homeowners who have previously signed those agreements.

“That is why we crafted model legislation to make these types of agreements unenforceable,” Blosser explained.

Blosser said states have already passed legislation aimed at these types of agreements, and that ten more, including Florida, are considering it.

She called these MV Realty agreements unfair and believes lawmakers across the country should make it clear they have no place in their state. “Every time a legislature passes a law restricting or limiting these types of agreements, it’s a win for consumer protections, and it’s a win for people’s property rights.” Blosser hopes legislation could protect people who fall into a similar situation as Gardner did with MV Realty.

In response to Cox Media Group’s previous investigations, MV Realty has said that they have tens of thousands of satisfied customers and that the facts will show that MV Realty’s business transactions are in compliance with state and federal laws.

Action 9′s Jeff Deal asked MV Realty about the recent push for legislation and they sent him this statement:

“MV supports the adoption of legislation that provides comprehensive oversight and licensure of participants in the marketplace. Any legislation should clearly spell out prohibited practices and outline specific terms that are transparent and easy to read in the language of the individual involved in the agreement.

“The bill the American Land Title Association is advocating for would rob homeowners of a valuable asset - the right to be compensated for providing a licensed realtor the listing of their home. Put simply – this bill will take money out of homeowners pockets and protect giant title insurance companies from their own negligence.

“Instead we hope to work with lawmakers to adopt legislation that would allow for the effective oversight and prevention of abuses and consumer protection, while allowing homeowners the option to be compensated for providing a licensed realtor the listing of their home.”

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.