According to Reid Brogden of the TREC General Counsel, home buyers and owners with no title insurance to back them, and who are damaged by old surveys, often look to real estate licensees for damages. “If there turns out to be an encroachment that wasn’t indicated on the survey, the home buyer usually brings it to our attention,” Brogden said. The underlying message of the notice was that licensees need to cooperate with surveyors and lenders to make sure their clients are provided with the most reliable and accurate information possible.
TREC reminded licensees that by state law, surveys are reliable only for a specific date, and there are frequent circumstances that affect property, including changes in easements, flood areas, drainage and encroachments that did not exist at the time of the survey. If the surveys given to prospects are not accurate, a court could hold licensees liable for providing a party with misinformation.
Brogden said the TREC notice was not an indication that any licensees had been brought before the state for survey violation. “The article was written in response to a request from the survey association (the Tennessee Association of Professional Surveyors or TAPS) to give notice to licensees,” Brogden said.
Backed by evidence of a recent gathering of both organizations, Brogden added that he perceives the relationship between the state’s surveyors and real estate licensees to be cooperative regarding the issue. “I believe [surveyors] want to help real estate licensees understand what the drawbacks are with the surveys,” Brogden said. Future plans to promote the proper use of surveys include a statewide seminar tour.