The key to implementing non-QM products

With the refi boom falling off and the margin compression happening to lenders nationwide, lenders are looking at non-QM to help fill in those gaps. Learn how to implement non-QM products here!

RealTrends 2021 Team Profitability Study

Brokerage firms have often speculated about how well teams perform from a profit and loss point of view, as well as how productive they are. In this research study, RealTrends answers these two big questions.

Proven Strategies for Accelerating eMortgage Adoption with Freddie Mac and Better

This webinar will cover how the industry is working to overcome challenges lenders experience in adopting eClosings. You’ll hear from industry leaders at Snapdocs, Freddie Mac and Better Mortgage. Register now!

Logan Mohtashami on existing home sales, mortgage rates

Today’s HousingWire Daily begins the Rundown miniseries where HousingWire’s Editor-in-Chief Sarah Wheeler and Lead Analyst Logan Mohtashami will talking about housing and economics every Monday.

Real EstateFintech

FTC shuts down real estate websites that allegedly preyed on Section 8 renters

Websites claimed to have “exclusive” access to rental listings

The Federal Trade Commission shut down a series of real estate websites that allegedly targeted Section 8 voucher recipients and falsely promised “exclusive” access to rental listings in exchange for a monthly or weekly subscription fee.

According to the FTC, two brothers, Steven and Kevin (Kaveh) Shayan, owned four companies and operated a series of real estate websites that offered prospective renters “hundreds of thousands of accurate, up-to-date, and available listings” if they paid a fee to access the listings, when the opposite was allegedly the case.

The FTC claims that the Shayan brothers’ companies, Apartment Hunters, Real Estate Data Solutions, Rental Home Listings, and UAB Apartment Hunters, and their websites,,, and, actually offered out-of-date listings, including many that did not accept Section 8 vouchers as promised.

“Today’s housing market is historically tight, and affordable rentals are harder to find than ever. Section 8 voucher recipients have it even harder: they have fewer rentals from which to choose and their vouchers expire if not used within a specified period of time,” said Andrew Smith, the FTC’s director of the bureau of consumer protection.

“In this case, we allege that defendants misled consumers—including Section 8 voucher recipients—into purchasing subscriptions to worthless lists of stale apartment listings, and the consumers then wasted their valuable time shopping for rentals that were not in fact available,” Smith added.

According to the FTC, the websites charged $49 for two months of access to contact information for the property managers of the rental listings on the sites, and $14.99 for a weekly subscription.

For those fees, renters were promised access to rental listings that weren’t available on other free listings sites, but the FTC alleged that those claims were “misleading, false, or unsubstantiated.”

The FTC also claims that falsely claimed to have access to listings that would accept Section 8 vouchers, which are used by low-income families, elderly, and disabled persons to gain access to affordable housing.

From the FTC’s complaint:

Defendants charge consumers a fee to access contact information for property managers of rental units listed on their websites. Defendants represent to consumers that the listings on their websites are accurate, up-to-date, and available, that consumers are likely to find suitable housing within a short time, and that consumers cannot find these listings on free websites. These representations are misleading, false, or unsubstantiated.

For example, the majority of the listings on are not available for rent, and most of those units that are available for rent do not accept Section 8 payments. Consumers lose money and valuable time because of Defendants’ deceptive marketing.

The FTC also noted that the California Department of Real Estate revoked Apartment Hunters’ business license in 2015, but the company has continued to operate since then without a license.

At the request of the FTC, a federal court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Shayan brothers and their four companies and their associated real estate sites from making false claims in the marketing of rental listings.

Most Popular Articles

Guaranteed Rate’s Shant Banosian clears $2B in originations in 2021

Guaranteed Rate’s Shant Banosian has topped his record-setting 2020 in a big way: year-to-date, the LO has funded a whopping $2 billion in total origination volume, the lender announced on Tuesday.

Nov 23, 2021 By
3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please