-- Producers of HGTV’s hit reality show “Love It or List It” are facing a lawsuit from a North Carolina couple that claims the show’s renovations “irreparably damaged” their home.
The premise of the show gives homeowners the choice to love their newly renovated home or list it and move into a new one. But Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan of Chatham County say the show pulled the rug out from under them when they signed up to turn their rental property into a home for them and their foster teens.
Murphy and Sullivan say they invested more than $140,000 with the production company, Big Coat TV, to upgrade their home, according to their lawsuit. But they’re now claiming, among other things, that Big Coat and the contractor hired to remodel their home, Aaron Fitz Construction, “irreparably damaged” their floors, painted some of their windows shut and used “low quality” and “inferior products” on their renovation, the lawsuit states.
They also claim the production company misused more than $65,000 of their investment and that, ultimately, the show’s “incentive is to make decisions that favor the television show but not the homeowners.”
Claims from unhappy homeowners that all is not quite what it seems behind some of HGTV’s reality shows have made headlines before. In 2012, a couple featured on the show “House Hunters” said their home searches were faked and they’d already bought their new home long before filming.
An executive for HGTV at the time, Brian Balthazar, told ABC News that in the end, “You’re seeing real people find the real home of their dreams. And that’s all spelled out right on the show.”
As for Murphy and Sullivan’s complaints, both the contractor and the production company say they plan to vigorously defend themselves.
Big Coat TV told ABC News that “’Love It or List It’ has been in production for over seven years, completing more than 250 renovations without any issues. We believe that this claim is in no way supported by any of the facts of the case, and we will be defending ourselves vigorously in this matter.”
The couple’s episode ends with the decision to “list it,” seemingly ready to move on, but now, seven months later, they say they still haven’t put it on the market because more work still needs to be done, and that the final work on the home was a scaled down version of a design they already had that they presented to the show.
HGTV has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment about Murphy and Sullivan’s lawsuit.