Can a Surveyor Enter Your Property?


It can be an unpleasant and surprising experience for some homeowners. It’s not your fault that you are looking after your property. Someone enters and claims the right to be on it.

If it is an intruder, you should call the police. This is not a surveyor. Is it legal for a private property surveyor to enter neighboring properties? Or are they trespassing on neighboring properties?

What is being surveyed?

Surveyors don’t need to have access to the property they are contracted to survey. Surveyors often need access to neighboring properties.

Most owners of properties bordering their property don’t have anything to do with the survey and don’t have any incentive to give access to their property.

There might be times when the owners share a common interest, such as fence construction.

Sometimes, the surveyor might find that the property owner is installing a pool or an outbuilding near property lines. Or building up and beyond maximum limits. This type of home remodeling is more common. This is a situation where the neighbor does not have to be involved in the project. However, they might be concerned about being overtaken.

Surveyors may not be trespassing on your land

It turns out that the surveyor has either a legal right to your property, or they are trespassing. Trespassing is the same as any other intrusion.

States might have their own rights of entry laws, which allow surveyors to gain access to properties bordering them.

This is permitted in New York State by N.Y. GOB. LAW SS9-105 states that “…the Land Surveyor, authorized agents and employees of such a land surveyor can enter or cross any lands required to perform surveying services.

How did this happen? It was the result of concerted efforts by a lobbying group as well as a law company. The New York Association of Professional Land Surveyors, (NYAPLS), worked with Wilson Elser, White Plains, NY, to push the initiative forward. It was finally signed by Governor Pataki in 2005.

This is most likely the way surveyors in your state will have access to your property. Only after a special interest group has pushed the matter into law.

There are dangers in people trespassing on property

Professional surveyors can cause injury and damage to your property by entering private property.

In the event of a surveyor making a mistake that results in a client being sued, professional liability insurance (E & O), is recommended. They should also have general liability insurance. However, in many states, no insurance is required to be licensed.

The homeowner is responsible for any injuries sustained by a surveyor while on your property. Because the ladder you used to paint your home fell on his head, the surveyor could sue you.

You may also be liable for any damage to your property. The New York case shows that the right-of entry law does not remove civil liability for damage. This means that you, the neighbor can sue the surveyor, if he causes damage to your property during his professional activities.

Asking Trespassing Surveyors for Leave

Are you concerned that a surveyor might be trespassing onto your property?

To find out if your state permits surveyors access to your land, search for “[your State] surveyor right to entry”. This information is not available from a single source. You may also find a variety of proposals, laws and laws in your Internet searches. To determine if a law is actually in force, you will have to go through all of this information.

Even though surveyors have this legal right it doesn’t mean they can just walk onto your land whenever and wherever they want. Like New York, Oregon SS672.047 allows surveyors to enter. However, Oregon’s law SS672.047 does not require surveyors to give “reasonable notice” about a survey. Instead, they must notify surveyors at least seven days before the survey is due.

In other words, if your state doesn’t have right-of entry laws, you don’t need to allow surveyors on your land.

Allowing Surveyors to Visit Your Land

You might let a neighbor’s land surveyor inspect your land for a variety of reasons. One reason might be that you simply want to be neighbourly. You might also have common interests, as was mentioned with the fence.

This is also a neighborly thing to do. You might find yourself the spoiled neighbor in the future. In that case, you may need to survey your property. It is a matter of judgment.

Your neighbor might survey your land and show you that you may have more land than you think. It happens.

Problem with Trespassing Surveyor

Robert Dean, PLS offers a different perspective in his article Right of Entry. Dean’s concern is both with his profession’s need for entry into neighboring properties as well as with private property rights.

Dean suggests that an hourly fee (equivalent to the crew rate of the surveyor) be charged for time spent occupying third-party property soil. This could be one way to solve this problem.

You, the neighbor, are being taken from by the surveyor and client: Access to your land for a certain period. Dean’s argument is that they shouldn’t have to pay, just like churches and fraternal groups charge nominal fees for access to their land or structures.


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