Bock & Clark 2020 March eNewsletter

ALTA Surveys:  Why is Optional Table A Item 21 Blank?

Filling out ALTA Survey Optional Table A Item 21Within the Optional Table A Items that can be negotiated for inclusion in the scope of services for an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, the definition of Item 21 is blank. It has intentionally been left blank to allow for additional information that a surveyor may be willing to provide as long as what is being requested is within the surveyor’s limits of expertise. In some transactions, there may be a need for information specific to the surveyed property not addressed within the surveyor responsibilities in the Minimum Standards or in defined Optional Items 1 through 20. If needed, the client can define a request for information under Optional Item 21 and negotiate its inclusion with the surveyor.  

The introductory preamble to the Optional Table A Items cites one example as any requirements that may be needed for an engineering design survey (i.e., spot elevations for utility connections, etc.) that may be done in conjunction with the ALTA Survey.  However, this does not limit the definition to just those needs.  

Another example would be requesting information regarding an appurtenant easement that offers benefit to the property. Per the Minimum Standards and as addressed in our August 2016 newsletter article, the surveyor, when made aware of an appurtenant right, will plot and show (if determinable) the limits of the easement. If the client wants the appurtenant right to be surveyed, Optional Table A Item 19 is negotiated. To do this, they must seek permission to survey the easement area as it is on the lands of others. This can be problematic and depending on the size of the appurtenant right, can cause pricing and timing issues.  In this scenario an alternative could be discussed and negotiated under Item 21 asking the surveyor to provide some notations regarding the appurtenant right. It would be important to learn specifics about the situation on the lands encumbered by the easement if an appurtenant right was being used for access. This could be accomplished by the surveyor’s observation.  

As an example, the appurtenant right might give an outparcel to a shopping mall the benefit of crossing over the entirety of mall parcel for ingress and egress to the public roadways adjoining the easement. Rather than surveying the entirety of the mall parcel per Item 19, the alternative could be defining and negotiating Item 21 asking the surveyor to provide a notation similar to the following: “The surveyed Outparcel shown hereon utilizes the easement right described in Orange County Deed Volume 12037 Page 88 for ingress and egress to the following public roadways that adjoin said easement”. Another Option for Item 21 that might satisfy this example is to negotiate that the surveyor provide, in addition to the survey, an aerial photo of the mall parcel. In situations such as this and many others, when there is an unusual situation that requires additional survey related information, having discussions with a surveyor can be very beneficial. The surveyor may have run into a similar situation and could suggest alternative solutions that could ultimately be defined as Item 21.

If there is a need for multiple items to be negotiated, they are to be defined as Items 21(a), 21(b), etc.

Per Section 6.D.(g) of the Minimum Standards, should the client and the surveyor negotiate and agree on a definition for Item 21, etc. the surveyor must include a note on the survey as to what was defined and negotiated. 


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