What’s the statute of limitations for a lawsuit against a real estate appraiser? This is a common question because many lawsuits against appraisers are filed years after the appraisal, sometimes 10 or more years later. The reason for this is that the plaintiff suing an appraiser may not have known there was a problem with the appraisal at the time it was received or may not have suffered any damages as a result of the alleged error until a loan default or other event has occurred years down the road. This plaintiff might be a lender who recently foreclosed on a loan or might be a borrower who believes they paid too much or borrowed too much based on an allegedly deficient appraisal.
The applicable statute of limitations for an appraisal-related claim will vary based on the nature of the claim (for example, whether it is for negligence, fraud or breach of contract), the state whose law will apply to the claim, and even in a few cases, who is making the claim. Based on these factors, the time period might be as short as one year or longer than 10. And, then there’s the discovery rule… .
What’s the “discovery rule?” The discovery rule – if followed in a given state – is a rule for determining when the statute of limitations time period begins running. In most states, the time period does not simply start running on the date of the appraisal. Instead, it generally begins running when the plaintiff has discovered the alleged error in an appraisal or suffered damage or should have discovered the error. So, that means the time period may not start running until years after the appraisal – for example, a lender may claim it did not know of the deficiencies in the appraisal until it foreclosed on the property, or a borrower may contend they didn’t know about an appraisal error until another appraiser brought it to their attention.
What’s the time period in my state? Does my state apply a discovery rule? The most common legal claim against an appraiser is for negligence. The chart below answers these questions state-by-state. If you are defending or considering an actual claim, however, you should always seek out knowledgeable legal advice in your own state (you should not rely on the chart). If you have questions about this topic or think a correction should be made, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
This chart was last updated July 9, 2019.
Important: The information in this chart is the subject of ongoing legal research and may also be impacted by new statutes and cases. The information in this chart should not be relied upon in making any legal decisions, including, but not limited to, deciding whether or when to file any legal action. A reader should consult with knowledgeable local legal counsel with regard to any legal decisions. The information is also not to be construed as an admission of fact or law and is offered without prejudice to any legal position or defense of any party.