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Land survey: insufficient monitoring of the sector increases errors in the Cadastre data

20/02/2018 Drukāt šo rakstu

The society cannot rely on the quality of the received land survey services, whereas the country as a whole cannot rely on the correctness of the data in the National Real Estate Cadastre. The State Audit Office pointed out these aspects while conducting the audit on the monitoring of the provision of land cadastral survey services. Formal monitoring for the professional activity of land surveyors, the lack of one main responsible authority, an unclear system for the prevention of infringements and errors are among the main drawbacks that must be eliminated in order to ensure high-quality information at the disposal of the state and to ensure the rights of land owners.

From 2013 until 2016 the quantity of border irregularities in the Cadastre data has increased by 2.2 times, reaching 2966 cases. In addition, the number of errors could be even higher. Meanwhile in 2016 due to the errors made by land surveyors the State Land Service refused to register 431 or 4.5 % of all submitted cadastral survey cases. The aforementioned suggests that the current land surveyor monitoring procedure prevents infringements only partially. Moreover, the prevention of the most serious infringements remains within the scope of responsibility of land surveyors. A real estate owner may even be not aware of the existing discrepancies, unless the land surveyor informs thereon the owner, and therefore the owner cannot demand the land surveyor to correct these errors or to make a claim for loss.

“Ownership rights are among the fundamental rights of citizens. Land survey services are required to corroborate these rights. Any land owner who pays for land survey services is entitled to request a state guarantee for the quality of the service; a land owner should not pay for the mistakes of a certified land surveyor,” Auditor General Elita Krūmiņa accents.

Multiple recommendations have been provided to the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for policy development with regard to the Cadastre maintenance, and the State Land Service, which has a duty to ensure the methodological management of the cadastral survey, with an aim to establish order in the relevant field and to improve the quality of land survey data services.

According to the recommendation of the State Audit Office, the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with other involved ministries will assess the current situation and will elaborate proposals to resolve the persisting problems in the field of land cadastral survey, including determining a responsible authority for more effective monitoring of the sector.

It is necessary to strengthen the monitoring of the professional activity of land surveyors so that the population could rely on the quality of the work performed by a land surveyor: stricter control mechanisms must be introduced primarily with regard to those land surveyors that have made errors already in the past or complaints have been received about their work. In addition, it is necessary to determine mandatory further education in order to raise the qualification level of land surveyors. Auditors note that the aforementioned requirements, more frequent inspections, including inspections at the areas concerned, will improve the quality of land survey services.

Following the recommendation of the State Audit Office, the Ministry of Justice has already committed itself to introduce changes in the procedures for the monitoring and prevention of infringements with an aim to eradicate the sense of impunity of land surveyors who act in bad faith. As the result of the respective changes it should be achieved that the errors and discrepancies of land surveyors discovered in inspections would be corrected and compensated by land surveyors instead of land owners. The Ministry of Justice and the State Land Service are determined to introduce the main recommendations approximately within a period of six months, thus, by November 2019.

The audit includes the analysis of the laws and regulations governing the respective field, documents of land surveyor certification and monitoring, the information and statistics provided by establishments. Significant information was also provided by land surveyor certification institutions and professional organisations.

The performance audit “Is the provision of land cadastral survey services effectively monitored in the state” was conducted for the period from January 2010 until December 2017.

Audit facts

  • The number of border irregularities discovered in the Cadastre information system has increased: in 2013 – 1349 cases, in 2016 – 2966 cases. The number of border irregularities which have not yet been identified is unknown.
  • In 2016, the State Land Service refused to register 431 cadastral survey cases due to the errors made by land surveyors.
  • The number of discrepancies which have not been prevented has increased in the Cadastre information system – from 249 land units in 2012 to 1735 land units in 2017.
  • Border irregularities in less than every 10th case have been caused by an error or infringement in the work of a certified land surveyor.
  • Discrepancies are discovered on average after 14.5 years. Land owners must cover the expenses related to the correction of these errors because it is possible to claim the correction of an error made by a land surveyor at its own expense only within a period of 10 years following the receipt of the land survey service.
  • Since 2011 land surveyor certification and monitoring is conducted by two certification institutions. Currently 288 persons hold valid certificates (2017).
  • From 2010 until 2016 certification institutions examined 1.2 % of all cases submitted to the State Land Service.
  • Minimum requirements are applied upon examining the professional activity of land surveyors. For example, irrespective of the total number of land survey assignments completed by a land surveyor only three surveys completed within the past five years, and thus the documentation thereof, are included in the inspection without conducting any on-site inspections (in the respective area).

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