When buying a commercial property an ALTA survey may be required by the lender or title company to complete the transaction. The surveyor is responsible for producing an accurate depiction of the property to those involved in the transaction and must carefully record the related parties in the surveyor’s certification to summarize the limits of his/her liability.
What is an ALTA Survey and Certification?
An ALTA/NSPS Survey is requested to protect both the lender and buyer when a loan is involved in the purchase of a commercial real-estate property. These surveys are comprehensive and include in-depth and detailed information about the property and its surroundings. The ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey is completed by a surveyor who must produce a document of certification as per Section 7 in the ALTA/NSPS minimum standards forms. The certification will outline the parties involved (typically the purchaser, the lender and the title company) to whom the surveyor has liability. To this point, the surveyor has final say when additional parties or verbiage such as “successors and/or assigns” are requested for inclusion in the Surveyor’s Certification.
The Surveyor’s Responsibilities
As per the Minimum Standard Requirements, the surveyor will state in the certification that the plat or map of the property and the survey on which it is based were made in accordance with the most current standards including any negotiated Table A Items. ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys.
For a property involving financing from a Lender, it is generally understood that the surveyor is liable to the Lender for as long as the loan is outstanding. In terms of additional parties, the surveyor must be comfortable with the those listed in the Surveyor’s Certification and this is sometimes why a surveyor will dismiss a request to add terms such as “successors and/or assigns” to the certification. By including this statement, the surveyor is essentially being asked to extend their liability to everyone and anyone. In many cases the surveyor’s own legal counsel or insurance provider may not allow them to make such a statement in the certification as it offers them no protection from current or future users of the survey. It is advisable to notify the surveyor of all parties that will be listed in the certification as well as any requests for “successors and/or assigns” at the time of the request for proposal. This will avoid any delays in procuring final survey.
An ALTA/NSPS land survey has many requirements and standards to meet for the purpose of ensuring professionalism, protection, and credibility. Knowing the responsibilities of the surveyor and client during the certification process maintains a smooth and easy transaction.