Blockbusting and Tom’s River, Hold on to Your Homes

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from an article in Micromedia Publications Inc.

LostMessiah, March 19, 2016

With No-Knock List Growing, Real Estate Solicitors Now Trying Texts

By Jennifer Peacock
As towns take a look at their no-knock registries, residents are reporting unwanted sales pitches are now coming in via text message.

No-knock registries prevent solicitors from going to your home and giving you a sales pitch there. In several towns, that also means real estate soliciting.

The issue stems from the neighborhoods in Jackson, Howell and Toms River that border Lakewood, seeing realtors come out in droves as part the population boom Lakewood is experiencing.

The online chatter of late has revolved around residents in both Jackson and Howell receiving text messages from real estate agents. In Howell, residents hear from “Joe Huffman,” identified as a real estate buyer in Howell, NJ, as reported by Howell NJ Strong on March 12. The text asks if the receiver is interested in selling their property, and is coming from 732-810-0149 and 732-751-4581.

Both numbers go to Huffman Properties, where the caller is asked to leave a name, phone number, and property they are calling about. An online search yielded no results for that company name, but did find one Joe Huffman in Howell. No phone number was available with that listing.

Both Jackson and Howell require that door-to-door solicitors apply for permits before canvassing. Both townships also have no-knock registries, which allow residents to opt out of receiving such solicitors. However, it’s beyond the jurisdiction of municipal governments to restrict phone calls or mail.

Using the no-knock registries is the main way a resident can prevent what they may feel are bothersome solicitors. The process often begins at town hall, with a form to fill out to get on the no-knock list.

Some residents have decided to take the paperwork to neighbors in Flair and Brookwood 1 and 2 in Jackson this past Saturday. The Facebook page Jackson NJ Strong announced that members of the group would in those neighborhoods with applications, which they in turn will deliver to town hall and return to residents’ homes with the no-knock decal.

Jackson NJ Strong responded to The Times and said their efforts were met with positive feedback.

And while applications for the Jackson registry are available for download online, residents must print the application, fill it out and either mail it or deliver it to town hall. Jackson NJ Strong wants to see the township provide an application that can be filled out online.

In Jackson, Council President Rob Nixon spoke at the March 8 council meeting on the topic, prefacing his comments with the fire in Lakewood that damaged what appears to have been an illegal dormitory.

“The improper tactics of Realtors, real estate speculators, panic peddlers and blockbusters hoping to prey on Jackson is an issue that concerns us all. Again I will say, if you see something, say something,” Nixon said. “There are resources available to address these concerns at the disposal of our residents today.”

All residents should sign up for the no-knock registry, he said.

“Don’t believe those who attempt to flippantly dismiss this tool. Our law is strong, it’s effective, and its penalties hit harder than those laws passed in towns nearby,” Nixon said.

He also told residents that they must report possible transgressions to the appropriate local, county, state and federal authorities.

“We are a wonderful and welcoming community, but we are bound to live by the same rules and the same laws. Respect for the law equals respect for each other,” Nixon said.

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