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Help-U-Sell of Teaneck v. Township of Teaneck

Decided: November 4, 1985.

HELP-U-SELL OF TEANECK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF TEANECK AND WERNER H. SCHMID, TOWNSHIP MANAGER, DEFENDANTS



Ciolino, A.j.s.c.

Ciolino

In this action plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from enforcement of defendant Township of Teaneck's Code, § 26-22.1 et seq. relating to real estate canvassing. An agreed and stipulated statement of facts has been presented to the court and the issues submitted on briefs and oral argument.

Plaintiff challenges the continuing validity of the real estate canvassing code both facially and as applied on the following grounds:

(1) The code is preempted.

(2) The code directly conflicts with other State statutes.

(3) The code presents an unconstitutional abridgment of constitutionally protected speech by:

(a) providing for prior restraints;

(b) proscribing unsolicited direct sales activity generally without prior notice; and

(c) the ordinance is content based.

Plaintiff Help-U-Sell of Teaneck is a real estate brokerage service doing business in or about the Township of Teaneck. It intended to conduct a campaign to secure real estate listings by contacting homeowners in certain areas by the use of mailed circulars. Prior to the initiation of its campaign, plaintiff informed the township manager of its proposed activities and inquired if the activity was regulated by ordinance. Plaintiff was informed that the campaign appeared to violate Teaneck Township Code § 26-22.1 et seq.

The pertinent section of said code makes it unlawful for any person:

[t]o solicit a listing from any homeowner or occupant of a home who has not granted permission in writing to the canvasser to visit his home for the purpose of discussing the sale or leasing of the premises. No person shall file for said listing more than once in any six month period. [Teaneck Township Code (1973) § 26-22.3(h)]

Canvassing is defined as:

Door-to-door soliciting or soliciting by the use of circulars, visitations or any other means where the canvasser or his employer has not been invited or requested by the owner, as defined below, to obtain a listing of real property or to confer with the owner regarding a real ...


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