DAYTON – The News Center 7 I-Team digs deeper into how people in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio can break free and break free from confusing, decades-long real estate contracts with MV Realty.
It was Team I Report the distressed real estate company for several months. John Biddle, the I-Team’s chief investigative reporter, has what he knows about a potential legal choice that could affect hundreds of homeowners.
As part of the I team A months long investigation into MV Realty’s business practices, We’ve been following Debbie Chastain’s story in Warren County. During an interview at her home in Carlisle this week, she showed Team I all the documents she had kept from MV Realty.
“Yeah, that’s all I have,” Chastain said. The plastic bag in which documents are stored explodes when you pull out the papers. “I also got feedback when I contacted them.”
She still has a copy of the check MV Realty sent her. “$585,” Chastain said, looking at the document. In return for the money, Chasteen signed a contract with MV Realty – a Home Owner Benefit Agreement.
“Yeah, and it benefits nobody but MV Realty,” Chastain sneered in her living room.
The contract, which Chastain signed in June 2022 – after she said she received a cold call from the company – is 40 years long.
“That’s longer than my mortgage,” Chastain told Biddle.
Here’s the deal: If Chasteen wants to sell her home during those four decades, she has to hire an MV Realty agent or pay a penalty of three percent of her home’s value.
MV seals the deal by offering a 40-year lien on the property with the county record offices.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is suing MV Realty on its business practices. Dave Yost’s office He obtained a preliminary injunction from a Franklin County judge against the company earlier this month.
“It’s a court order telling MV Realty to stop,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told I-Team this month. “Stop doing these open agreements. Stop deceiving people. Stop practicing real estate without a license. to stop.”
And just in the past month, The language in the two-year state budget was signed into law by the Dewanese governor MV Realty’s new deals will soon make it illegal in Ohio. This law will go into effect in October.
But, as I-Team has previously reported, neither this law nor the state’s lawsuit addresses existing deals that more than 700 Ohio residents, including Chasteen, have already signed with MV Realty.
So, Biddle previously asked Yost: “What can people who have already signed up with MV Realty do here in Ohio? Is there anything you can do in the Attorney General’s office to make these existing contracts null and unenforceable?
‘Well,’ said Yost, ‘private contracts are a matter of private enforcement. But we are looking at all available options. Certainly, people who are in a position where they are directly affected now have the ability to submit their own actions to the so-called quiet address and remove that.
This week, Team I spoke with Chasteen’s attorney to get some perspective on the Quiet Property suit.
“I haven’t done any full research on this,” said attorney Andrew Ziegler. “But if it’s coming from the Attorney General, I think it’s kind of a nudge for people to say, ‘Hey, you might want to look into this.'”
Zeigler works with Riverside-based Kennel Zeigler LLC. He has been an attorney for 17 years and deals with bankruptcy, probate, estate planning and real estate law.
He says that quiet property proceedings usually happen when there is a dispute over ownership of land – people take each other to court in court and the judge decides who is the rightful owner of the property.
“I think what the attorney general is saying is that people should file a quiet property suit against these people saying, ‘I have a higher right to this property than your lien,’ and then see what the court does with it,” Ziegler told IE. -a team.
After that, Ziegler says, if the homeowners are successful in any potential quiet property lawsuit, a court order can be filed on the deed records. “So you just have to record a court order that this particular agreement is not valid.”
MV Realty has repeatedly told I-Team that it remains confident its homeowner benefits program is “fully in compliance with the law and benefits consumers who choose MV Realty as their listing agent.” As a company spokesperson told I-Team, “MV Realty continues to voluntarily and temporarily enter into any new agreements. We look forward to working with AG Yost to address concerns and continue this valuable program as an option for homeowners across the state.”