Curbing House Flippers in Brooklyn

A new cease-and-desist zone, meant to control the activities of house flippers, is under consideration in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, as well as state laws that would increase the real estate transfer tax.

2 minute read

March 3, 2020, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Allison Dikanovic reports on an effort in New York City "to protect homeowners from harassment from real estate speculators by designating the neighborhood as Brooklyn’s only 'cease-and-desist' zone — an area declared off-limits under state law."

"Cease-and-desist protections would allow homeowners to opt into a list restricting would-be house flippers from contacting them — and hit violators with fines, criminal charges or loss of real estate licenses," explains Dikanovic.

The effort so far has the backing of the Coalition for Community Advancement and Democratic State Senator Julia Salazar. The decision  to grant "cease-and-desist" powers is held by the state's Department of State, which is holding a public hearing on the proposal this week. The Department of State gained the power to grant "cease-and-desist" status in 1989, but only three neighborhoods in New York City have achieved that status. According to Dikanovic, all three are in suburban-style, largely white and Asian middle-class areas.

"While the Department of State process is underway in East New York, lawmakers in Albany are working on a bill that would make all of Brooklyn a cease-and-desist zone for five years," reports Dikanovic. Advocates are pushing for other methods to counter flipping, like increasing the real estate transfer tax, "which would make it more expensive to re-sell a property within two years of purchasing it," according to Dikanovic. Multiple bills under consideration at the state capital would implement a form of real estate transfer tax.

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