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Cease and Desist “Blockbusting” in Chestnut Ridge, New York

Chestnut Ridge homeowners have long complained of a daily assault by real estate agents to sell, sell, sell. Now, the state will take steps to stop it. On May 21, 2018, the Department of State filed a cease and desist zone for the Rockland County Village of Chestnut Ridge. The regulation goes into effect on July 1, 2018, and expires on July 1, 2023.

Such a zone can be implemented only if the Secretary determines that homeowners have been subjected to intimidation tactics to get them to sell. Such intimidation often includes the implication that property values will go down due to changes taking place within the community. But some homeowners said that things have gotten out of control, and they've felt threatened, calling the real estate activity "blockbusting." This term was originally used to refer to real estate agents' tactics in the 1950s to induce property owners to sell hastily at reduced prices out of fear that racial minorities would soon be moving into their neighborhoods. The Village of Chestnut Ridge and surrounding areas are in the midst of a hot real estate market. Officials decided to establish a cease-and-desist zone after hearing complaints of residents being approached in their homes, their driveways, and at the back door, by people wanting to buy their homes.

Establishing a cease-and-desist zone is rare, with only two other zones currently in existence. But unusual doesn't mean unnecessary. Homeowners are entitled to enjoy peace within the boundaries of their property. The village is offering residents decals warning solicitors to stay away. While the zone is in effect, it will be unlawful for any licensed real estate broker, salesperson, or any other person regularly engaged in the business of buying and selling a property to solicit a homeowner within a zone that has filed a notice requesting not to receive such solicitations. A list of homeowners that have filed such statements will be available on the Department of State's website. Sending solicitations to a homeowner that has registered with the Department can result in monetary fines, suspension or revocation of licensure. If necessary, enforcement proceedings will commence after October 1, 2018.


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