PROFESSIONAL SURVEYORS AND MAPPERS
A CAUTION AGAINST OWNERSHIP  SURVEY AFFIDAVITS

OWNER SURVEY AFFIDAVITS

Owner Survey Affidavits are used to reduce closing costs by using an older, outdated survey. The owner signs an affidavit declaring that there have been no changes since the last survey and thus avoids the cost of a new survey. IMPROPER USE OF OLDER  OUTDATED SURVEYS MAY BE A VIOLATION OF COPYRIGHT LAWS!


SHOULD AN OWNER SIGN A SURVEY AFFIDAVIT?

An owner should not sign an Owner Survey Affidavit. By signing an Owner Survey Affidavit the owner increases his/her liability which may result in costly litigation and, if knowingly signing a false affidavit, possible criminal prosecution. An incorrect Owner Survey Affidavit could be the result of a defective survey or changes made to the property since the date of the last survey. These changes could be improvements made by the owner, adjacent owners or utility companies. In most transactions the buyer is responsible for the survey costs and by signing an Owner Survey Affidavit the owner unnecessarily increases his/her liability without compensation. Please note that an owner may need to sign other affidavits that are not survey related. These should not be confused with Owner Survey Affidavits.


SHOULD A BUYER ACCEPT A SURVEY AFFIDAVIT?

A buyer should never accept an Owner Survey Affidavit. Because the survey was not certified to the buyer, the buyer does not have a contractual relationship with the surveyor. Therefore, if there are problems with the survey, the only legal recourse for the buyer would be to initiate litigation with the previous owner. The seller (owner) has a conflict of interest in the transaction since the disclosure of a title or boundary defect may lower the sale price. The buyer loses the protections and peace of mind afforded by a new survey that would depict these defects.  When the owner is responsible for the cost of a new survey, an Owner Survey Affidavit may increase the likelihood of fraud or deceit.

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