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BaysideWhitestoneCollege Point and Flushing residents now have the power to stop real estate brokers from hounding them to sell their homes.

Effective Jan. 1, the Department of State (DOS) has begun enforcing reinstated “cease and desist” regulations, which allow certain northeast Queens residents the ability to add their names to a list protecting them from unwanted real estate proposals from brokers or salespeople. Just over 1,000 residents in the newly-added neighborhoods have signed up for the protections since the Oct. 1 open registration date.

Residents interested in signing up may still do so on the DOS website. The list will be updated on a monthly basis. Maps of the eligible areas can be seen here and here.

Under the regulations, DOS may impose penalties on violators depending upon the severity of the incident. Penalties range from a reprimand, to monetary fines of up to $1,000, to license suspension or revocation.

The new cease and desist zones were selected after a series of hearings and investigations in 2016. DOS considered the community’s testimony and determined there was sufficient evidence to reinstate the regulations.

The new zones expire on Sept. 1, 2022.

In 1989, DOS declared the entirety of Queens a cease and desist zone, allowing homeowners to file their names and addresses on a list barring real estate brokers or salespeople from approaching their residences with unsolicited sale or leasing proposals. However, when the regulations expired in 2014, the practice returned, leaving local residents feeling disempowered.

State Senator Tony Avella, who represents northeastern Queens, recently sponsored legislation that would bring all of Queens under the protections. It would also extend the non-solicitations orders to 10 years from five.

The bill is currently in committee.

“Though I wish that the cease and desist zone covered the entire borough of Queens, I think we have taken a very big step towards protecting homeowners from the predatory tactics of real estate agents that became a norm in our neighborhoods,” Avella said. “These new zones will also help to promote a better relationship between homeowners and real estate agents who work and live in the community.”

Questions about the cease and desist zones can be directed to DOS at 518-474-4429 or licensing[at]dos.ny.gov.

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