I am often asked by my clients, “Who do you share this report with?” In general, the answer to this question is “only the client.” When I get a call from someone who is not the client, I tell them that it doesn’t matter who they are – a real estate agent, attorney, accountant, parent, sibling, etc. – without written permission from the client I cannot discuss or disclose the appraisal.
I am bound by the rules of the Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and the Appraisal Institute’s Code of Professional Ethics.
The Confidentiality Section of the Ethics Rule of USPAP states:
“An appraiser must not disclose confidential information or assignment results to anyone other than the client, parties specifically authorized by the client, state appraiser regulatory agencies, third parties as may be authorized by due process of law, or a duly authorized professional peer review committee, except when such disclosure would violate applicable law or regulation.”
Note that the rule allows an appraiser to share a report with another appraiser or trainee in the interest of teaching, mentoring, or demonstrating. It also says that the law trumps USPAP, so if a court orders it, I would be required to turn over the report as ordered by a court.
The rule also states:
“An appraiser must take reasonable steps to safeguard access to confidential information and assignment results by unauthorized individuals, whether such information or results are in physical or electronic form.”
I take reasonable steps to protect information I maintain in physical or electronic form.
And the rule further states:
“An appraiser must ensure that employees, co-workers, sub-contractors, or others who may have access to confidential information or assignment results, are aware of the prohibitions on disclosure of such information or results.”
To this end I ask my trainees to treat all information in each work file as confidential and to notify me of anyone asking for it.
For more about USPAP and the topic of confidentiality, see USPAP: Ethics Rule, Confidentiality, page 9, lines 250 and 252 & FAQ 126, page 241.
And because I hold the SRA and AI-RRS designations, I am also required to follow the Appraisal Institute’s Code of Professional Ethics as well, which affirms:
“An appraiser must not disclose confidential information or assignment results to anyone other than the client (and persons specifically authorized by the client).”
And like USPAP, the Code of Professional Ethics makes exceptions for state enforcement agencies (after due process of the law) and professional peer review committees.
Therefore, rest assured that any appraisal performed by an appraiser of Appraisals Guaranteed (located in Alexandria City, Virginia) will hold your information private and confidential. And if you are not a client but would like to discuss a particular appraisal with me, please get permission in writing (email is fine) from the client.