April 22, 2008
ADDRESS PROTECTION FOR REALTORS
By: Sandra Norman-Eady, Chief Attorney
You asked if there is a way to prohibit realtors' home addresses from being publicly disclosed.
Although unprecedented, the General Assembly could extend state address protection laws to realtors. These laws prohibit public agencies from disclosing the addresses of certain public officials and employees. Although the Department of Consumer Protection licenses realtors and administers their licensing examination, realtors are not public officials or employees.
When enacted in 1995, the first address protection law was called the “hazardous duty statute” because the officials and employees whose addresses were protected were viewed as the most at risk for harm if their residential addresses were made available to the public. The protected officials and employees were judges, magistrates, police officers, Department of Correction employees, and former and current state prosecutors and public defenders.
ADDRESS PROTECTION LAW
With one exception, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) prohibits state and local government agencies from disclosing to the public the home addresses of certain specified local, state, and federal officials and employees (CGS § 1-217). To avail themselves of the protection under the FOIA, covered employees only need to substitute their business address on any state or local government document that asks for their home address.
The covered employees are as follows:
1. federal and state judges, federal magistrates, and state family support magistrates;
2. state and local police officers;
3. former and current state prosecutors and public defenders;
4. Department of Correction, Department of Children and Families, and Judicial employees;
5. Division of Criminal Justice inspectors;
7. Pardons and Paroles Board members and employees;
8. Public Defender Services Division social workers; and
9. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities members and employees.
The prohibition under FOIA does not apply to personal information, including home addresses, in Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records, which are disclosable to government agencies and anyone else who agrees to use them for limited specified purposes, such as to provide notice to owners of towed, abandoned, or impounded cars; by insurers in connection with a claim; or in connection with any lawful purpose of a labor organization (CGS § 14-10).
Officials and employees eligible to have their home addresses protected on DMV documents are:
1. judges and magistrates,
3. Department of Correction employees,
4. former and current state prosecutors,
5. Board of Pardons and Paroles members or employees,
6. Judicial Branch employees regularly engaged in court ordered enforcement or investigatory activities,
7. federal law enforcement officers who live and work in Connecticut, and
8. state referees.