New Survey Standards – Don’t Just Rely On Certifications!

February 23, 2016 was an important date for the real estate industry when the new 2016 ALTA/NSPS* Survey Standards went into effect – long and short, this 8 th revision of the survey standards mean that owners and lenders should no long assume that a “recertified survey” is just as good as a new survey!

Every few years, the industry clarifies and updates standards. Standards change and title insurance coverage changes. If the owner or lender want to be assured that the survey exception is removed in title insurance and affirmative coverage is given under a survey, one should recognize that the survey standards have changed. A few of the more important changes are:

  • Inconsistencies addressed under the previous standards;
  • Required documents to be supplied include all easements (a new addition);
  • “Records Research” includes any documents which relate to the property, not just those recorded in the public records;
  • The “degree of precision” regarding fieldwork has been addressed;
  • Any rights of way must now be addressed, not those which are “legal” and “of record”;
  • Any improvements within 5 feet of the property line must now be shown;
  • All utilities must now be shown (there was confusion before and not all were shown);
  • All water features must be shown within 5 feet of the boundary line;
  • Minimum requirements for the legal description are now clarified;
  • Clarifications regarding easements, servitudes, ROW, access, etc. are now made;
  • Zoning information must be supported by a zoning letter from the zoning officer;
  • The total number of parking spaces and the types of parking spaces must be addressed;
  • Confusion addressed regarding locating and proving utility easements;
  • Identification of adjoining property owners is only validated form tax records and not land records (note that these may differ) and
  • Professional Liability Coverage is no longer to be publicly disclosed on the map.

Weiss LLP provides an array of legal expertise to owners, developers, lenders and others in the real estate industry. Contact Weiss LLP for more information.

*The abbreviation refers to the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors; the NSPS is the merged survivor of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.