Department of State hearing on real estate ‘cease and desist zone’ at P.S. 14 on April 20

“We are hope to have a have a good turnout and we are going to be prepared to fight to make sure that this law continues.” - Senator Jeff Klein.

The New York State Department of State will be listening to east Bronx residents about over-solicitous real estate salespeople.

Some property owners in community boards 10 and 11 have been receiving aggressive real estate solicitations, since a cease and desist law and its corresponding ‘do-not-contact’ list expired in 2014.

DOS officials will be on hand at a public hearing at P.S. 14 at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20 to gather input from local homeowners about their experiences and the need for the re-establishment of the zone in their area.

Senator Jeff Klein has been working with local community groups to collect evidence of the solicitations, the senator said.

These notices to sell are being mailed, dropped off, and left on fences and doors, said Michael McNerney, Country Club Civic Association president.

“The cease and desist is very important,” said Klein. “Once it sunsets, it becomes my responsibility and the community’s responsibility to prove to the secretary of state that this is still needed.”

Unscrupulous real estate agents, some of who leave notes offering to buy houses for cash and claiming to help people who may be facing foreclosure or a short sale have been inundating certain areas, sources said.

“They try to stir people up to get them to sell,” said Klein, adding “The over-solicitation always worries people.”

The senator said a Cease and Desist Zone had been in placed in the area for more than 20 years before it expired, predating his tenure in office, and that he had worked to close a loophole that allowed people representing real estate agents to solicit on their behalf.

The law that was in place created a DOS registry of residents that did not want to receive any kind of solicitation, he said.

Real estate brokers would have to consult the list before starting a marketing campaign, he explained.

If another cease and desist zone is established, Klein said he’d like to expand it to neighborhoods he now represents in Community Board 9.

Real estate agents have been very creative with the advertisements that are being left around the Country Club area. One even went so far as to distribute a card with a cake recipe on one side and a solicitation on the other, said McNerney.

“We believe that homeowners should have the right and entitlement to sell their homes on their own terms and their own conditions without be coerced,” said McNerney, adding that some of the overtures are creating litter on the streets, and that door-to-door propositioning of homeowners apparently happened on Stadium Avenue.

Repeated phone calls from real estate agents can be construed as a scare tacit, said Andrew Chirico, Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association board member.

In certain cases, agents have told homeowners that their community is in worse shape than it actually is, and lied about neighbors selling their homes, said Chircio.

“Unscrupulous real estate agents can really mess up a community,” he said.

Senator Klein believes that turnout at the DOS public hearing is very important.

“The more unsavory brokers, and the unlicensed brokers, are the ones who aggressively soliciting,” the senator said.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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