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 was performed by the appraiser, 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 a 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 was performed – 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 or comments about this topic, please feel free to email me at peter@valuationlegal.com.


StateYearsDoes a "discovery rule" potentially apply to a professional negligence claim against an appraiser?
Alabama2No, unless fraud.
Alaska2Yes
Arizona2Yes
Arkansas3No, unless fraud.
California2Yes
Colorado2Yes
Connecticut2Yes
Delaware3Yes
Florida2, for claims by clients.Yes, for claims by clients or those in "privity" with appraiser. For claims by other parties, the limitations period is 4 years with no discovery rule.
Georgia2 or 4The period for claims against appraisers in Georgia has not been difinitively determined.
Hawaii6Not determined. The case law in Hawaii does not support a firm conclusion as to whether the discovery rule would apply to claims against appraisers. Recent appellate decisions have applied a discovery rule to malpractice claims involving medical professionals and attorneys.
Idaho2No
Illinois2Yes
Indiana2Yes
Iowa2Yes
Kansas2Yes
Kentucky1Yes
Louisiana1Yes. (If signed by the governor, a bill pending as of June 1, 2019, will create a statute of repose with a 3-year maximum time period from the date of the "act, omission or neglect." (Sen. Bill 191)
Maine6Yes
Maryland3Yes
Massachusetts3Yes
Michigan2Yes
Minnesota6Cause of action accrues when "some damage" has occurred as result of the alleged negligence.
Mississippi3Undetermined
Missouri5Yes
Montana3Undetermined
NebraskaUnsettledUndetermined
Nevada4Probably
New Jersey6Yes
New Mexico4Yes
New York3No
N. Carolina3Yes. However, North Carolina has adopted a "statute of repose" that imposes a maximum time period on claims. A claim for negligence against an appraiser, even under the discovery rule, must be filed within 5 years of the appraisal. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §1-51(4).)
N. Dakota2 or 6Yes, within 2 years of discovery.
Ohio4No
Oklahoma2Yes
Oregon2Yes. However, Oregon has adopted a "statute of repose" that imposes a maximum time period on claims. A claim for negligence against an appraiser, even under the discovery rule, must be filed within 6 years of the appraisal. The law applies to appraisals after 1/1/18.
Pennsylvania2Yes
Rhode Island10No, discovery rule does not apply to R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-13(a).
S. Carolina3Yes
S. Dakota3No
Tennessee3Yes. However, Tennessee also has adopted a "statute of repose" that imposes a maximum time period on claims. A claim for negligence against an appraiser, even under the discovery rule, must be filed within 5 years of the appraisal.
Texas2Yes
Utah4Yes
Vermont6Yes
Virginia5Yes
Washington3Yes
West Virginia2Yes
Wisconsin6Yes
Wyoming2Yes

Important: The information in this chart is the subject of ongoing legal research. Further, new statutes and cases may impact the information in the chart. 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.