The “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys” is a document jointly promulgated by the American Land Title Association (ALTA), representing the title insurance industry, and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), representing professional land surveyors, which describes the uniform minimum standards with which surveyors must comply when preparing a survey to be used by a title insurance company for the purpose of deleting the general survey exception from ALTA title policy forms. The first such set of standards was developed in 1962 and has since been revised 10 times. The standards are currently updated every five years and are relied on by real estate professionals, including purchasers, lenders, title insurers and their attorneys, nationwide. In October 2020, a joint committee comprising representatives of both ALTA and NSPS adopted the “2021 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys,” which will become effective on February 23, 2021. The significant changes between the 2021 standards and the previous 2016 standards are summarized below.
The 2021 standards clarify that only survey-related matters must be summarized on the survey. This revision was intended to foreclose a practice common among some institutional lenders to require that the survey list all items shown in Schedule BII of the title commitment on the face of the survey regardless of whether those items may in fact be survey related. The 2021 standards also add a requirement that the surveyor include a note specifying whether the location of a right of way, easement or other survey-related matter is shown on the survey. This change incorporates common lender and purchaser requirements that were not previously enumerated in the survey standards.