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Brooklyn Residents Working To Ban House Flippers From Gentrifying Area

Buildings in East New York

East New York residents are working to stop potential house flippers from contacting them in a new plan that would have the area declared the first “cease-and-desist” zone in Brooklyn.

The New York Department of State is holding a public hearing this week to examine the proposal to have cease-and-desist zone protections implemented, The City reports. Neighborhood residents have joined with the Coalition for Community Advancement and state Sen. Julia Salazar’s office to push for the plan.

If it were to come to fruition, locals could put themselves on a list that would restrict prospective home flippers from contacting them. Those caught breaking the restrictions would be fined, charged and risk losing their real estate license.

To create these kinds of restrictions, the state needs to establish if there is “evidence of intense and repeated solicitations.” East New York has seen a higher rate of investors flipping homes than anywhere else in Brooklyn, per 2018 data from the Center for New York City Neighborhoods. The homes were also being sold for a higher profit margin than anywhere else in Brooklyn.

Many worry that the practice of buying homes and quickly selling them for significant profit has a negative impact on neighborhoods, because it drives up home prices and pushes out local owners and renters.

There are three designed cease-and-desist zones in New York City, and the Department of State has had the power grant them since the late 1980s, per The City. The proposed plan comes as New York continues to grapple with the housing affordability crisis.

Last year, the state introduced strict new rent regulations aimed at keeping more apartments under rent-stabilization, and some legislators are now pushing to introduce what is known as the "good cause eviction" bill, which real estate circles have panned as rent control by another name

Lawmakers are also looking at whether or not the entire borough of Brooklyn could be turned into a cease-and-desist zone for the next five years, per The City.