ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Requirements 2021 Update

March 2, 2021

By: Neal A. Coleman, Mary Katherine Nelson

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) have issued revised Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, effective February 23, 2021.  The revised standards amend the uniform minimum standards surveyors use to prepare land surveys to be used for title insurance purposes. ALTA/NSPS Surveys dated on or after February 23, 2021 must satisfy these new ALTA/NSPS Requirements, which replace the existing 2016 ALTA/NSPS Requirements. 


Most of the changes to the ALTA/NSPS Requirements are intended to reword existing requirements for clarity and to make clear the scope of the surveyor’s role. However, a few optional Table A requirements often required by end users, particularly commercial lenders, have been modified. 



Table A Item 18 under the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Requirements required the surveyor to show the location of any delineated wetland markers. Said requirement has been deleted in the 2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements, and what was previously Table A Item 19 (plottable offsite easements) has now become Table A Item 18. If a lender or borrower requires a wetlands delineation to be shown on the survey, it will need to be specifically negotiated as an additional Table A Item.


Plumb Walls/Party Walls:

Table A Item 10(b) under the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Requirements required the surveyor to make a determination of whether certain walls are plumb (i.e., perfectly vertical). Said requirement has been deleted from the 2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements, and former Table A Item 10(a) related to party walls is now referred to as Table A Item 10.


Recorded Easements:

A new requirement under the 2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements provides that a surveyor advise the title insurance company if, in the process of preparing the survey, the surveyor becomes aware of a recorded easement that is not listed in the title documents provided by the title company. Such recorded easements are required to be shown or explained on the face of the survey map unless the title insurer provides evidence of a release of such easement.


Utility Markers:

The prior requirement related to locating utility markers observed during the surveyor’s fieldwork has been updated in the 2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements to include a requirement that the surveyor locate utility poles on or within 10 feet of the property lines.


Property owners and commercial lenders should familiarize themselves with the new 2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements before contracting for or accepting a land survey in order to ensure the survey meets  2021 ALTA/NSPS Requirements. For questions related to the revised ALTA/NSPS Requirements, please contact your Nyemaster Goode attorney.