Maryland legislators have passed a bill that would prevent exclusive real estate listing agreements from binding homeowners for more than one year. The bill was proposed by Del. Marlon Amprey in response to the controversial practices of MV Realty, a real estate company that was incorporated in Maryland in late 2021. Within a year, the company locked hundreds of homeowners in Maryland into 40-year contracts that gave it the exclusive right to list their homes for sale. These agreements were only breakable by paying a “termination fee” equal to 3% of the home value, which was estimated by the company. If a homeowner or any heir broke the agreement, intentionally or unintentionally, the termination fee was secured by a lien on the property.

According to The Banner, many homeowners did not fully understand the fine print of the agreement and were enticed by the cash offered in exchange for signing the agreements, which were often just a few hundred dollars. The majority of affected homes were located in predominantly African American neighborhoods on the east and west sides of Baltimore. Maryland lawmakers were appalled by these practices and drafted the legislation to protect homeowners and Black wealth in the state.

Legislation drafted a bill in response to controversial practices, which locked hundreds of Maryland homeowners into 40-year contracts

Although MV Realty has suspended offering new agreements nationwide, Amprey believes that the bill is necessary to prevent other companies from engaging in similar practices. In recent months, regulators across the country, including attorneys general in Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ohio, and North Carolina, have taken legal action against the company. The Federal Communications Commission also ordered phone service providers to block MV Realty calls.

If signed into law, Maryland will become the seventh state in the country to pass similar legislation since March. The bill will help protect homeowners from being locked into exclusive agreements that they do not fully understand and pr