Frequently Asked Questions

When do I need a land surveyor? 

If you own land, chances are you will need a land survey done at least once in your life. Instances that may require a surveyor include purchasing a home, qualifying for a loan or property insurance, installing a fence or landscaping, or building an addition or additional structure such as a workshop or barn. Property line disputes are often why one might need to hire a surveyor as well. Click here for a list of common types of surveys that an individual might need.

Who can provide me with an official survey? 

Only a licensed professional land surveyor may provide a legal land survey and create or modify boundaries or easements. Professionals must be licensed through the state the property is located in. Surveyors in Oregon are licensed through the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS). For more information on OSBEELS go to


What do I look for when hiring a surveyor?

Always consider qualifications and if a surveyor is licensed to work in the state. To search for an Oregon state license number, click here. As any other profession, references and past projects are a good indicator. Price is not the sole indicator of the quality of work a surveyor may do for you. A land surveyor acts on the behalf of the public  and may appear for you in planning commission meetings or in a court of law. Surveyors often communicate with your neighbors on your behalf. Make sure you are comfortable with the surveyor you hire, and that you both have a clear understanding of what you're trying to accomplish. Make sure to clearly define the scope of work by clarifying goals and expectations.

Will a land surveyor tell me where my boundary lines are? 

Only a court of law can decide questions of property ownership in Oregon. Your land surveyor locates the boundaries of the property on the ground as described in your deed, marking the property corners with physical monuments if none exist, provides a map, and documents survey results. The map will be recorded with the County Surveyor in which the property is located. If conflicts exist, your land surveyor will advise on property remedies. Boundary disagreements may need to be resolved by a court of law; only the courts can settle ownership disputes.

Will I know if encroachments on the property exist? 

An encroachment is when a property owner violates the property rights of their neighbor. This is usually done when someone builds a separate structure or extends an existing structure on to the neighbors property. Possible encroachments are identified as part of the survey. Encroachments may not have to be shown on the map submitted for filing with the county surveyor. A separate map may be necessary.

Will I know if easements exist on my property? 

An easement grants another entity the right to cross or use your land for a specific purpose, such as a utility company. A surveyor can determine this if a title report is provided by the owner or ordered during the survey. The owner should make it clear to the land surveyor what additional information should be disclosed by the survey. Researching one boundary is generally the same as surveying the entire parcel. If the property has not been surveyed in a long time our boundary monuments have disappeared, a complete boundary survey is the most cost-effective.

How can there be conflicting boundary and easements lines? 

Boundary and easement line disputes, gaps, and overlaps are sometimes a result of faulty legal descriptions that were originally written and recorded by persons lacking proper qualifications. It is critical to have property lines clearly described and surveyed when boundaries or easement lines are created or changed. Under current law, any newly-created, and most adjusted boundary lines, require a survey and processing through governmental agencies. A property survey may reduce potential boundary and easement conflicts or resolve outstanding issues.

Why do I need an Elevation Certificate and how do I get it? 

An Elevation Certificate is one way to comply with the National Flood Insurance Program requirements. It is required to properly rate certain structures for flood insurance premiums. Elevation Certificates must be prepared and certified by a Licensed Land Surveyor.

How will I know what has been surveyed? 

Your land surveyor will perform the survey in accordance with the mutually agreed upon scope of work. If the scope of work calls for monumentation, property corners will be marked with steel rods or other permanent monuments, and a survey will be filed. The property corners should be shown to the owner. A survey map will be filed whenever property corners are set indicating dimensions of property lines and other relative data as required by state law.

How much does a survey cost? 

Like anything else, it depends on the the amount of time and detail needed for the scope of work. Click here for examples of scenarios that may affect the cost.

Does a surveyor have the right to walk on my property without my permission?

A surveyor doesn't just need access to the property he has been contracted to survey. Access to bordering properties are needed as well. In Oregon, surveyors are permitted to enter private land without permission, however they must attempt to contact the Owner or Occupant beforehand. There is no wording in the Right of Entry law specifying how they must contact the Owner or Occupant. Frequently, this notice is in the form of a door hanger, notifying you of the project and contact information. The surveyor is responsible for compensating the Owner for damages caused. Check the Right of Entry on the left side of the page for more information. To read the Right of Entry Statute (672.047) click here.

How do I file an official complaint about a land surveyor?

If you have a disagreement about costs or contracts, you will need to take it up in the Courts. If you have a complaint about a surveyor breaking Oregon State Statutes (ORS 92.040 to 92.080ORS 209.250ORS 537.010 to 537.992ORS 672.002 to 672.325, and OAR Chapter 820) you may file a complaint with the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying (OSBEELS). Click here for more information on the process and to download a complaint form.

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