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Lawmakers Target 'Blockbusting' This Week In Rockland

State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) helped set up a meeting with the Department of State this week to try and stop 'blockbusting' tactics happening throughout Rockland County.
State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) helped set up a meeting with the Department of State this week to try and stop 'blockbusting' tactics happening throughout Rockland County. Photo Credit: File

RAMAPO, N.Y. -- Rockland County residents fed up with aggressive real estate agents stopping by their homes in an attempt to purchase their property will want to attend a meeting Wednesday that will consider options to alleviate the problem.

The meeting will be held from 6-9 p.m. at Rockland County Community College, 145 College Road, Suffern, in the college's theater.

Known as "blockbusting," the practice is used to get homeowners to sell cheaply by inferring that people of another race or class are moving into their neighborhoods.

The problem is not new to the area where a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jewish families has been moving to the area, making it the third-fastest growing in the state. The towns include Ramapo, Orangetown, Chestnut Ridge, Hillcrest and others.

Officials with the New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services, will hold the public hearing to consider options to alleviate the excessive solicitation.

Over the past few months, numerous community members have reported to the offices of both Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee that individuals have been stopping by their homes, sometimes two or three times a day, asking if they would like to sell their property and often in an aggressive manner.

“We applaud the Department of State for scheduling this hearing in Rockland, giving area residents the forum to share their concerns about the aggressive, blockbusting tactics some Realtors and their representatives employ to get people to sell their homes,” said Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart. “For many months, town residents have felt the pressures of aggressive Realtors looking to purchase homes that are not for sale."

Stewart said the repeated solicitations may cause homeowners to believe their property values may decrease and their neighborhood is changing.

"The Department of State has the authority to ban real estate solicitation in hard-hit areas. Orangetown’s ‘Do Not Knock’ law covers door-to-door solicitation, but only the state can halt mailers, all other forms of solicitation and suspend the licenses of unscrupulous Realtors," he added.

Carlucci and Jaffee say they are hoping the state will adopt a “no-solicitation” rule that will curtail such “harassment.”

A “no-knock” policy also may prohibit real estate developers from calling certain homeowners or sending them letters, postcards and handbills, the lawmakers said.

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