Attorney General Bonta Files Lawsuit Against MV Realty Over Predatory Real Estate Scheme Targeting Financially Vulnerable Homeowners

Thursday, December 14, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced filing a lawsuit against MV Realty, a Florida-based company that engaged in a predatory scheme to lock vulnerable homeowners into 40-year exclusive listing agreements and placed illegal liens on their homes. Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the lawsuit alleges that nearly 1,500 California homeowners have signed these unlawful agreements with MV Realty, which lured homeowners with an immediate payment of anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars in exchange for being the homeowner’s real estate agent should the homeowner sell their home in the future. According to the lawsuit, MV Realty misrepresented the significant downsides of its agreements, including that it places a lien on the homeowner’s property that prevents homeowners and their successors from transferring their home without paying MV Realty 3% of the home’s value, even if the company fails to provide diligent realty services. MV Realty charges homeowners an illegal 3% penalty if they sell their homes without using MV Realty or otherwise cancel their agreement, and refuses to lift its liens unless homeowners pay this illegal penalty. In addition to blocking home transfers, this lien can also impede, delay, or prevent a homeowner from obtaining or refinancing home loans. 

“MV Realty is a financial predator. Through its one-sided agreements, the company lined its own pockets at the expense of vulnerable homeowners in California, holding their most valuable assets hostage. To this day, it refuses to release homeowners from those agreements,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “MV Realty’s actions demand accountability. That’s why we have filed our lawsuit.”

Today’s lawsuit is the result of an investigation by the California Department of Justice and the Santa Barbara and Napa District Attorney’s Offices.

“The Napa County District Attorney’s Office is committed to working with the California Department of Justice and the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office to hold MV Realty accountable for their erroneous business practices,” said Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley. “Holding a home hostage using agreements that gloss over the pitfalls of doing business with this company is not only immoral, but illegal.”

“Homeowners in Santa Barbara County and the entire state are entitled to protection from fraudulent schemes that deceive them into unfair, one-sided, multi-decade obligations,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney John T. Savrnoch.  “We look forward to working alongside the California Attorney General’s Office and the Napa County District Attorney’s Office in seeking justice in this case.”

Among other things, the lawsuit alleges that MV Realty:

  • Deceptively marketed its predatory exclusive listing agreements
  • Placed illegal liens on homes and charged homeowners illegal penalties for canceling or breaching the agreements
  • Signed its agreements through individuals not licensed to practice real estate in California, rendering those agreements void and unenforceable
  • Violated other California real estate laws, California’s do-not-call law, and the Truth in Lending Act

A number of states, including California, recently passed legislation that prohibit fraudulent schemes like the one MV Realty engaged in. On October 8, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1345, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024. AB 1345, which Attorney General Bonta sponsored, imposes a two-year limit on residential exclusive listing agreements and clarifies that these agreements cannot be filed with a county recorder. 

MV Realty filed for bankruptcy on September 22, 2023. The California Department of Justice will also file motions as necessary to protect its interests in that bankruptcy action.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

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