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2016 Changes to ALTA/NSPS Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Land Title Surveys

April 5, 2016

Effective February 23, 2016, the ALTA/NSPS (formerly ACSM) Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for Land Surveys have been updated and changed, replacing the ALTA/ACSM requirements promulgated in 2011. While most of these changes are clarifications and minor revisions, there are several substantial changes that may affect real estate professionals. First, the new requirements specify the types of documents that must be provided to a surveyor in order to complete a survey. While many of these documentation requirements simply clarify customary practice, if documents are not provided to the surveyor, the surveyor need only perform the minimum research required by the surveyor’s contract and the applicable jurisdiction. This places the burden on the surveyor’s client to determine whether the surveyor has included all the information the client wants in the survey. Second, the new requirements discourage preparation of new legal descriptions. Any new legal description must contain a statement explaining why it was prepared, and the survey must also include a note explaining similarities and differences between the new description and the record description. Third, a survey must include observed utilities on the property, which was optional under the previous standards. Finally, surveyors must only identify wetlands that are clearly marked on the property by markers placed by qualified specialists.

For a PDF from the ALTA website showing the changes from the 2011 requirements, please click here.

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