WASHINGTON. D.C. – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) sent a letter to the National Association of Attorneys General recommending that state attorneys general take steps to protect homeowners from predatory home-buying practices. Senators Smith and Lummis were concerned by allegations that some franchises of HomeVestors of America, commonly recognized by their advertising catchphrase, “We Buy Ugly Houses,” were targeting elderly and ill homeowners.
“Home equity represents more than a quarter of all household wealth in our country and we are deeply troubled by schemes that are all too eager to pilfer it,” wrote the Senators. “We appreciate the dedication of the National Association of Attorneys General to safeguarding consumers and respectfully request that you continue work to put a stop to unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices, and ensure that HomeVestors and other similar firms are not allowed to take advantage of our nation’s most vulnerable homeowners. Americans work hard to build equity in their homes and should be protected from those seeking to reap the benefits of their investments.”
The letter details alarming and misleading practices wherein some franchisees allegedly targeted vulnerable homeowners and communities, deceived and coerced homeowners to close sales, and employed complex legal maneuvers to prevent their victims from backing out of sales despite unfair conditions. The letter recommends that state attorneys general inform consumers, undertake a coordinated response to the repeated complaints, and advocate for tools that empower homeowners.
Earlier this week, Senator Smith raised the allegations with the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rohit Chopra, at a hearing on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.
Read the full letter here.