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'We almost lost our house': 40-year realty contracts tangle 100s of homeowners in court

For a little cash up front, some Tampa Bay-area homeowners find themselves bound to 40-year agreements that operate like liens and costs thousands to escape.

Emerald Morrow

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Published: 8:50 PM EST February 1, 2023
Updated: 6:33 PM EST February 2, 2023

A house is usually a homeowner’s biggest asset. But for hundreds of Tampa Bay-area homeowners, 40-year contracts, liens and lawsuits have threatened what many have worked years to acquire and maintain.

In exchange for small sums of quick cash, Delray Beach-based MV Realty gets homeowners to sign contracts giving them exclusive rights to be their realtors if they ever decide to sell their homes.

What many don’t realize: The contracts are 40 years long and are filed with the courts as public record attorneys say operate like a lien. What many learn too late, breaking the contract often results in a lawsuit for a lien on the property and 3% of the sale value of the home.

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