Can Someone Survey My Property Without Permission?

Check with your state’s specific laws, but in general, property surveyors do not need your permission to survey your property.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
While each state has its own laws, private property surveyors generally do not need explicit permission from a property owner to survey the property, which may include your fence line, the sidewalk in the front yard, or your house itself. 
It can be very alarming to see an unknown figure milling around your property with measuring instruments, especially when you don’t recall scheduling any kind of inspection.
However, in most scenarios, surveyors don’t need your permission to take down the details of your property. As a property owner, that may seem disturbing and confusing. So to help you understand how and why your property may be surveyed,
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Can someone survey my property without permission?

Although it may seem crazy that someone can waltz onto your private property and record a thorough description of it, someone is typically able to survey your property without permission

Is it illegal to conduct a property survey if I don’t give permission?

While someone can survey your property without permission, you may be wondering if it's legal. This depends on a couple of things: which state you live in and where the surveyor is coming from
Every state has its own rules and regulations for property surveying. That said, most states allow for a private property survey without the property owner’s permission, as long as the surveyor has legitimate authority
If the surveyor is sent from a government agency or hired through a legitimate surveying firm, they are likely acting lawfully, and you’ll need to comply with their presence. 
However, you still have rights as a property owner! You should confirm the surveyor’s authority before allowing them to document your details, and you can do that in a few ways. 
  • Ask to see a badge or proper identification 
  • Ask them questions about their purpose 
  • Request they sign a document confirming their purpose 

What is a property survey?

Okay, so property surveyors could come onto your property without your permission. But what exactly are they doing when they survey your property?  
A property survey details everything having to do with a property. This can include things like:
  • Land use
  • Physical location
  • Address
  • Roads
  • Walls 
  • Utility lines
  • Fences
  • Sheds
  • Pools
  • Structure descriptions
Essentially, a property survey will measure boundary lines, square footage, distances, angles, elevations, structures, and more to get the full picture of your property. 
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Why would my property be surveyed?

You may be asking yourself why anyone would care to know the angle of your shed’s roof or the distance from one seemingly random spot of lawn to another. While it can seem like useless information, it all adds up to a clear definition of a property. 

Define boundaries

One of the most common reasons for property surveys is to define boundaries. It is illegal to build on or alter another’s private property, so clear boundary lines are important to ensure you or your neighbor won’t infringe on the other’s property. Property surveys take the guesswork out of setting boundaries to establish definite property lines and identify what belongs to whom.


Another common reason is for mortgage purposes. Most mortgage lending institutions require a property survey before approving a loan to ensure the property is worth the loan amount


A property survey will also identify any easements or portions of your property that you must share with someone else under limited circumstances. For example, your neighbor may need to cross your property to reach a main road. Or maybe a utility line needs to cross your property to feed into another neighbor’s house. 

Property data

Finally, a government agency may request a property survey to update property data and zone classifications
Since there are several reasons why a property survey may be conducted at your home or property, so if you’re feeling unsure about a property surveyor’s presence or what they may be doing there, ask them!

How to easily find home insurance 

You shouldn’t worry too much about the potential risks of someone surveying your property without permission—but that doesn’t mean all risks as a homeowner are benign! Protect your home and your belongings with a solid
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Property surveying is legal in most states if the person conducting the survey has the proper authority from a government agency or surveying firm. It’s a good idea to consult your state’s rules on property surveys.
Property surveys are generally conducted to establish boundary lines, land use, exact sizes and distances, and property value. An example of why your property may be surveyed is if your neighbor wishes to build a fence and wants to ensure they are building on their property alone.
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