Survey Nightmares: But the assessor said…

by | Apr 17, 2018 | Surveying Related

We recently ran into a situation where an experienced REALTOR® ran into a situation where she was being advised that “the surveying company is wrong” stated by an employee who works in the Assessor’s office. She was also told that our boundary survey did not match what the assessor’s map was showing and that we were clearly wrong.

Here’s the situation:

  • We performed a boundary survey on a lot that backs to a lake.
  • According to the title commitment, the lot being purchased was Lot 8 and only Lot 8. The area “behind” the lot was shown as being “Lake” area.
  • Survey field work indicated that the property dimensions shown on the subdivision plat were accurate. However, the “lake” area was not covered by water (which is what is usually thought of when the term “lake” is used) and it had a strip of dry land before the water began.
  • The employee at the Assessor’s office informed that the REALTOR® OWNED that dry land based off of what the assessor map was showing. They also advised that she could landscape that strip of dry land since she owned it.

In this case, we disagree with the assessor’s employee. The land is NOT owned by the REALTOR®, as it is NOT a part of Lot 8 as shown by the subdivision plat. She does not have legal title to that property, nor does she have a deed to that property. Regardless of what the assessor’s map shows, deeds will always overrule. Now, in the big picture, does anyone really care if she landscapes that area or not? Probably not. But that still doesn’t make it hers or mean that she owns the land. Keep in mind that Assessors are not licensed surveying professionals. Surveyors are licensed and are required to follow Missouri law when surveying.

Information provided should not be considered legal advice and all buyers, agents and title companies should consult their attorneys for legal advice.

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