Court Orders Operators of Deceptive Rental Listing Websites to Pay $6 Million, Permanently Bans Them from Offering Rental Listings

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court ordered the operators of several online rental listings websites to pay more than $6 million after the FTC alleged that they made false and unfounded claims about their listings. The order also permanently bans the defendants from offering rental listing services.

Steven and Kevin (Kaveh) Shayan made false and unfounded claims on their WeTakeSection8.com website targeting low-income, disabled, and older adults, including that the site had accurate, up-to-date listings that were approved for Section 8 housing vouchers. In reality, most of the listed properties were either unavailable or did not accept Section 8 housing vouchers.

The Shayans also falsely claimed that consumers could access hundreds of thousands of accurate, up-to-date, and available listings on the defendants’ other subscription websites and that they had exclusive rights to list rental properties that consumers could not find on free websites.

In addition to a monetary judgment, the order permanently bans the defendants from advertising, marketing, or promoting subscriptions for or access to a rental listing for an apartment, condominium, or single family home.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued the final order on December 6, 2019 after granting the FTC’s motion for summary judgment.

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