State Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) and northeast Queens civic leaders urged the state to keep an expiring non−solicitation list that homeowners can sign up for forbidding real estate companies from contacting them about selling or buying homes.
Padavan sponsored the non−solicitation law, which passed in 1989 and is up for renewal every five years. It has been extended during each renewal period since then.
The law applies only to certain areas throughout the state designated as non−solicitation zones. All of Queens is in such a zone.
At a sparsely attended public hearing Friday at the Queens High School of Teaching, state Department of State officials said in order for the law to be renewed before it expires Aug. 1, the state needs evidence that residents are “subject to repeat and intense solicitation” by real estate companies and brokers.
Padavan said his office has collected complaints from 62 people on the non−solicitation list who have been contacted by brokers who do not follow the law’s requirements.
The senator said very few real estate brokers violate the law, but the ones who do are “very aggressive.”
He said there was “no doubt in my mind” that there would be more solicitations if the law was not in place.
“If someone doesn’t want to be called ... why should they be allowed to be contacted by a real estate agent? It’s only logical that we continue this prerogative, this program, in the future,” Padavan said. “We want the program to continue.”
Auburndale Improvement Association President Terri Pouymari agreed.
“If I need an agent, we can check a phone book, a newspaper,” she said. “We don’t want to be solicited by people we don’t know.”
Creedmoor Civic Association President Rick Duskiewicz also wants the list to continue, but suggested it be organized by ZIP code instead of town name.
Although his family is on the list, Duskiewicz said he still gets solicitation from brokers who skirt the law by using a different town name for his Bellerose home.
He said his civic area is also inundated with private real estate investors who are soliciting homeowners and believed that such investors were not covered under the law.
Whitney Clark of the State Department said the agency has successfully gone after real estate investors, but civic leaders and Padavan said they were told private investors were exempt.
Bernard Aquilino of the Rocky Hill Civic Association said the law has to be continued because “we do have a diverse community now” and claimed real estate agents attempt to persuade homeowners into selling by saying a certain ethnic group “is taking over” the neighborhood.
“That’s the way they work,” Aquilino said. “They’re unconscionable.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2009 Community News Group
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