Department of Sanitation removes illegal postings in Community Board 11

The Department of Sanitation removed all of the 'We Buy Houses' signs in Community Board 11.
Photo by Vito Signorile

It’s a sign: Community Board 11 residents do not want to sell their homes.

After weeks of countless complaints to the community board, the signs that read “We Buy Houses” and “We Buy Ugly Houses” that were illegally attached to telephone poles and trees throughout the district, have been removed.

On Thursday, December 1, over 20 signs were removed by the Department of Sanitation, and a supervisor told CB 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke that the remaining signs will be removed shortly.

The signs started appearing in late October and by Thanksgiving, over 30 signs were found in Morris Park, Pelham Bay and Pelham Gardens.

“We weren’t going to let these signs stay up. Not only were they illegal, but we received a large amount of complaints about them,” Warneke said. “The Department of Sanitation was great to respond in helping us take these down. Hopefully the person behind it will suffer the financial consequences.”

According to CB 11 member Joanne Rubino, her and other residents researched the signs and tracked the posted phone number to California.

Rubino determined that the signs could be associated with a foreclosure scam called “equity skimming.” She said that signs like these are placed, hoping to get at least one person to call the number.

“The number was tracked down by a resident,” Rubino said. “I was told that this type of scam could be a federal crime and we will continue looking into it.”

Councilman Jimmy Vacca notified DSNY borough chief Paul Visconti. Vacca said just removing the signs is not enough and that finding the party responsible for posting the signs will allow DSNY to issue fines.

“I thank Paul Visconti for responding quickly. The issue was beginning to become too prevalent,” Vacca said. “There was a reason why this law was enacted and we want everybody to know that the law will be enforced. We do not want this type of junk on our landscape.”

Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383.

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