Question Details

Michaela, Home Buyer in New Jersey

Where can I read the rules that prohibit real estate agents from telling me crime rates and school rankings?

Asked by Michaela, New Jersey Tue Jun 10, 2008

Several real estate agents told me that I had to look up this information for myself. Some provided me websites to research. One told me to visit the police station. This is ludicrous. I am a newly divorced, single Mother moving from NY to NJ. As real estate agents who live and work in these communities, I expect this to be part of the guidance that is provided. I was told it violated fair housing laws. I did not ask any real estate agents to discriminate against anyone. I asked for crime rates and school rankings. Please point me to the specific sites where I may read the rules that prevent you from giving me this information.

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I provide the information for any question my clients ask, as long as it does not specifically address a request that would indicate "blocking", "steering", or any form of discrimination. That said, personally, I do not summarize the data for my clients as that could draw conclusions based on my experience and not theirs. That said, I also do not "send" my clients anywhere as that leads to the type of frustration you are experiencing. I go get the data and present it to them. That's what I get paid to do. Nothing is illegal, and as Jim so aptly put it, there isn't a single law in the land that prohibits what I do.

I think you just need to find the type of agent that operates under the above assumptions. Frustrating I know, but lots of agents I know are of the opinions that Jim expressed, they walk around fearful that they are going to get sued for every little thing they say. Sad state of affairs.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
I am responding to Michaela's request to documentation and have cited it in my previous note; CT laws.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
Michaela, I guess you did not read my first answer. Ira is incorrect. There is nothing in written law or our code of ethics that prohibits us from saying something stupid. It's the possibility that some irate person may sue us that guides us when asked about crime rates. People get irate about all kinds of things that a reasonable person would put behind them, and, understandably, crime victims tend to be hard to reason with. They strike out at the police, the mayor and city council, and sue people who told them that the neighborhood was safe.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008

please go to Sec. 20-328-4a. Discrimination and fair housing
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
I have already been told to visit police stations, look up websites. I already know the rehearsed answer, so you do not need to repeat it. I asked where it is written that real estate agents are not allowed to talk about schools and crime rates. Please provide links or phone numbers about this rule.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
Go to your local Town website for schools and details of the town. Realtors are prohibited from answering these questions and are liable to lawsuits. The school question is a tricky one, as it could be a matter of opinion. The Town records on line always have the most recent school ratings. Visiting the school is always good...The Faculty is always helpful and accomodating to your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008

The Fair Housing Act prevents us from "steering" clients or customers to or away from any neighborhoods. The case law is fuzzy, but it many cases it is strongly suggested that agents provide access to the tools for a buyer to answer the crime questions to their own satisfaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
There are no rules other than uncommon sense. The agents did the smart thing by telling you to make that determination for yourself. We live in a litigious society, and telling someone that crime is low opens us up to law suits if the person then is victimized.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
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