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Ban on unsolicited ads effective next month

Property owners know the feeling. They come home after work or back from vacation to find piles of unsolicited advertising material on their lawns. This unwelcome material, which homeowners have no choice but to pick up, can be more than an annoyance and a waste of paper.

As material piles up while homeowners are away, this material does its job in an unexpected way. It advertises the fact that no one is home, giving would-be burglars the green light to break in and help themselves.

Fortunately, within a few days, property owners will be able to fight back.

Aug. 2 will mark the beginning of the enforcement of the state General Business Law Section 397-A. Also known as the "Lawn Litter Law," the new regulation allows property owners to post a sign in a visible area on their properties, prohibiting the placement of unsolicited advertising material.

The property owner's sign, which must be at least 5 inches tall and 7 inches wide, must state in letters at least 1 inch in size, "Do not place unsolicited advertising materials on this property." The sign can be placed in visible areas, such as on lawns or front doors.

If property owners receive unwanted advertisements when their signs are up, they can fill out a citizen complaint form against the unsolicited advertisements on their property, enclose the ads with the form and mail the package to Director of Enforcement, NYC Department of Sanitation, c/o Unsolicited Advertisement Enforcement, 1824 Shore Pkwy., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11214.

For additional questions or to obtain complaint forms, property owners should call 311. After Aug. 2, complaint forms will also be available by downloading them from the Sanitation Department's Web site: www.nyc.gov/sanitation.

Advertisers found in violation of the Lawn Litter Law will be fined $250 applicable to each piece of unsolicited advertising material.

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