October 31, 2011
PROVIDING INFORMATION ON SCHOOLS TO PROSPECTIVE HOMEBUYERS
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked whether the law or the real estate industry code of ethics bars a realtor from comparing school systems when showing homes to prospective buyers.
CGS § 21a-9 allows each board or commission within the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), including the Real Estate Commission, to impose sanctions, including license revocation, on a practitioner who performs work beyond the scope of the license, registration, or certificate issued by the board or commission. According to Gary Berner, DCP's legislative liaison, the Real Estate Commission has interpreted this provision to bar realtors from making qualitative statements regarding school systems. As a result, a realtor may not state the school system in town “A” is better or worse than the school system in town “B.”
However, Berner states that this interpretation does not bar realtors from presenting quantitative data about school systems. For example, a realtor could present information about mastery test scores, teacher-student ratios, and per student spending to a prospective homebuyer. According to Timothy Calnen, vice president of government affairs for the Connecticut Association of Realtors, the industry's code of ethics does not preclude a realtor from presenting factual data about school systems when showing homes. On the other hand, the industry's code of ethics bars realtors from saying that a town has a good or bad school system.