- Office of the Attorney General
- Office of the Attorney General
Media Contact for AG's Office Secures Preliminary Injunction Against MV Realty, Blocking the Company from Stripping Equity from Homeowners
BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s office has secured a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit against MV Realty, a company that the AG’s Office alleges deceptively presents itself as a real estate brokerage, while, in actuality, aggressively marketing a deceptive loan product to financially struggling homeowners in Massachusetts.
The preliminary injunction, granted by the Suffolk Superior Court on Monday, restricts MV Realty from engaging in unfair and deceptive marketing practices, prohibits the company from obtaining or recording additional mortgages during the pendency of the litigation and requires the company to release existing mortgages.
“MV Realty has used malicious marketing practices to prey on, lie to and financially exploit hundreds of homeowners across Massachusetts, stripping home equity from cash-strapped consumers,” said AG Campbell. “This preliminary injunction will stop MV Realty from further harming our residents and serves as a model for attorneys general offices across the country to fight back against these kinds of predatory practices.”
The AG’s Office sued MV of Massachusetts, LLC, a/k/a MV Realty, a Florida-based company, in December 2022. MV Realty sells a product called a “Homeowner Benefit Agreement” that offers small dollar cash payments, typically less than $1,500, in exchange for a 40-year exclusive right for MV Realty to act as the listing brokerage when the homeowner decides to sell. The contract also requires the homeowner to pay MV Realty on virtually any other transfer of the home like a death or foreclosure. The AG’s Office alleges that, through unfair and deceptive marketing and sales tactics, MV Realty hides the true terms of the contract, which effectively amounts to a loan. The AG’s Office also alleges that MV Realty uses illegal methods for securing its rights under the contracts, including mortgaging homeowners’ properties in violation of Massachusetts laws.
Terms buried in the contract include: a clause that allows MV Realty to assign the right to be the homeowner’s broker to anybody it wants to, without restriction; a clause ensuring a minimum payment to MV Realty, even if it overestimated the value of the home; a clause that requires tenfold repayment of the cash advance if the owner loses the home to foreclosure; and a clause that says that MV Realty will only act as a non-agent facilitator, who does not owe homeowners the duty of loyalty or duty of confidentiality that real estate agents generally do.
The AG’s Office alleges that MV Realty targeted consumers searching for information on small loans or public benefits with advertisements that falsely implied that its product was a government program, promotion, or giveaway. They also allegedly targeted vulnerable consumers using search terms like “government home improvement grant” and “help for seniors with home repairs.” Its advertising included phrases like “Remember, because it’s not a loan, there is NO repayment” and “you NEVER repay these funds.”
Once MV Realty obtained a lead, the AG’s Office alleges that salespeople would barrage homeowners with phone calls, texts and emails to secure a deal. Salespeople for MV Realty took numerous steps to ensure homeowners did not read through or understand the contracts, including not providing documents in advance for consumers to read, printing documents in size 8.5-point font, not leaving copies after consumers signed the contract and sending mobile notaries who knew nothing about the product to rush homeowners to sign. These mortgage transactions typically closed without an attorney present in consumers’ living rooms, on car hoods, or, in at least one case, at a local Dunkin Donuts.
As a result of these practices, the AG’s Office alleges that MV Realty customers are unaware of the core terms of the transaction and are unwittingly saddled with a mortgage on their home, tying up what is most likely their most valuable asset, restricting their ability to refinance and preventing them from selling without paying a tenfold penalty to MV Realty.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Schuyler Daum and Daniel Bahls, Paralegals Melissa Herriford and Noah Kopf and Managing Attorney Yael Shavit, all from the AG’s Consumer Protection Division, with assistance from Senior Investigator Marlee Leo of the AG’s Civil Investigations Division.