New CT Regulation Places Limits on Real Estate Team Names
Just last month (July 2021) a new law was passed in Connecticut that places various new rules on real estate teams. These new rules include: (i) how a real estate team can name itself, (ii) the terminology used in the name, (iii) an increase in the minimum work experience required for a broker’s license and (iv) a new registration process for real estate teams. While this new law does not go into effect until January 2022, now is the time to educate both yourself and your team if you are affected, and Marti Law Group is here to help facilitate that discussion and keep you informed.
Why is This Happening?
It may come as a surprise to some, but this bill began gaining traction in the legislature in March of this year. I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, and this new regulation seems to be the product of that. Some real estate clients have found it difficult to determine whether they are dealing with a brokerage, a single broker, or an agent due to some teams failing to include their brokerage designation. The theory behind imposing strict rules on real estate team names is to prevent ongoing misrepresentations and identify the brokerage more clearly. While increasing transparency to new homebuyers and the general public as a whole is a novel movement, complying with the new regulations may come at a high cost to some teams, and not just financially. Many of the most well-known teams in the state are not in compliance with this new law, which will result in a need to rebrand, and thus, could cost thousands.
New Restrictions on Team Names
Public Act No. 21-167 (“An Act Concerning Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers, Salespersons and Teams”) has placed the following requirements on real estate team names: the team name must (i) include the full name of at least one licensed real estate broker or salesperson who is a part of the team OR be followed by “at/of [full name of the sponsoring real estate broker]”; (ii) NOT include the name of any person who is not licensed as a real estate broker or salesperson; and (iii) NOT include any term or phrase that implies that the team is its own business entity. For example, a team name cannot include any of the following: “group”, “LLC”, “realty”, “real estate”, “corporation”, “company”, or “associates” – however, the use of the term “team” may still be utilized. Any real estate teams that are not fully in compliance with these new restrictions by January 2022 may face repercussions.
Rebranding a Familiar Name
Much of the upset behind this new regulation is of course the cost of rebranding, but also the fact that some real estate teams have been around for several years and have worked diligently to make a name for themselves in the community. As a small business ourselves, we understand just how difficult and time-consuming it is to create a brand identity in a highly saturated field and having to start back at square one is less than appealing to say the least. Most brokers and realtors do not take issue with the intention behind this new regulation, but more so that it is a “legislative overreach” by the state without consideration as to the cost and burden it places on those teams. Teams not in compliance will be forced to change their yard signs, business cards, brochures, websites, billboards, etc. Not only is rebranding costly, but a new team name may cause even more confusion to the general public - especially for teams that have been around for 10+ years and are now required to change their long-standing name, which certainly could affect their business as a whole.
New Registration Process
In addition to the new requirements of what a real estate team may call themselves, now teams will also be required to register with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and pay a substantial initial registration fee, along with a yearly renewal fee. The initial registration fee will cost each team $565.00 for one year, and teams will have to re-apply annually for a renewal at a cost of $375.00 per year.
If you would like to voice your concerns on this new regulation and how it affects you, your team or your brokerage, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Instagram @_martilawgroup so we can bring attention to your voice.