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Side-by-side Comparisons of Changes to the Uniform Act FAQ

Subpart B

UNIFORM ACT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
2005 August 2005 January 25, 2007  
Original Text Interim Text Final Text Comments
Side by Side Comparison of FAQ’s  
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Moved: Italics
Deleted: Strikethrough
New: Red Bold
 
SUBPART B – REAL PROPERTY ACQUISITION  
 

4.The final rule preamble section on Subpart B states that FHWA decided to retain the term "fair market value" throughout Subpart B except for § 24.101(b)(1) and (5). Yet the term "market value" appears in the final rule in a number of other places, including §§ 24.102(d) and (j), 24.103(b), and 24.105(c). Which is correct?

The Preamble is correct. On Monday, May 2, 2005, the FHWA published a technical correction in the Federal Register (70 FR 22610) which changed the term to "fair market value" in all parts of the rule except § 24.101(b)(1) through (5).

12. Subpart B.The preamble to the revised regulation published January 4, 2005, states that the FHWA decided to retain the term "fair market value" throughout Subpart B except for §24.101(b)(1) and (5). Yet the term "market value" appeared in the final regulation in a number of other places, including §24.102(d) and (j), §24.103(b), and §24.105(c). Which is correct?

The preamble is correct. The FHWA published a technical correction on Monday, May 2, 2005, in the Federal Register (70 FR 22610) that resolved the problem by changing the term to "fair market value" in all parts of the regulation except §24.101(b)(1) through (5).

 

49 CFR 24.101, 24.108, and Subpart E - Replacement Housing Payments. If property is acquired through donation, exchange, or some method other than purchase, are the occupants entitled to relocation assistance and payments for vacating the property?

Yes. The method of conveyance of property to the agency has no effect on the entitlement to relocation benefits. The occupants are eligible as "displaced persons" if they meet the definition of a displaced person [24.2(g)].

 

13. §24.101, §24.108, and Subpart E. If property is acquired through donation, exchange, or some method other than purchase, are the occupants entitled to relocation assistance and payments for vacating the property?

The occupants are eligible as "displaced persons" if they meet the definition of a displaced person [24.2(a)(9)].

 
   

14. §24.101(a)(2) and §24.101(b)(1) through (5). If a Federal agency operating in accordance with §24.101(a)(2), or an agency acquiring in accordance with §24.101(b)(1) through (5), will not acquire a property except through amicable negotiation, is the owner entitled to relocation assistance? Are tenants on such properties eligible for relocation assistance?

Owners of such properties are not displaced persons. Tenants of such properties are eligible for relocation assistance and benefits.

 
 

5.Can the early notice required by 49 CFR 24.102(b) be provided at a public meeting? When is the best time to give this notice?

No. When property is to be acquired, each owner should be notified in such a way that an administrative record exists to attest to the delivery to the owner. There is no assurance when using a public meeting that all affected owners will be present and each owner is due the courtesy of receiving a timely notice of the agency's intent. The notice should be provided as early as possible (when it is known a property interest will be acquired), and no later than when the appraisal or waiver valuation assignments are made.

15. §24.102(b).Can the required early noticebe provided at a public meeting? When is the best time to give this notice?

No. When property is to be acquired, each owner should be notified in such a way that an administrative record exists to attest to the delivery to the owner. There is no assurance when using a public meeting that all affected owners will be present and each owner is due the courtesy of receiving a timely notice of the agency's intent. The notice should be provided as early as possible, when it is known a property interest will be acquired, and no later than when the appraisal or waiver valuation assignments are made.

 
 

6.Is a § 24.7 waiver required to provide a "waiver valuation," rather than an appraisal, for properties estimated to be worth over $10,000 and up to $25,000?

No. § 24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C) contains its own separate waiver provision that specifically permits the use of the "waiver valuation" for these properties provided the Federal funding agency approves the higher threshold beyond $10,000 and the acquiring agency agrees to offer the owner the right to have an appraisal prepared.

16. §24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C).Is a §24.7 waiver required to provide a waiver valuation, rather than an appraisal, for properties estimated to be worth over $10,000 and up to $25,000?

No. §24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C) contains its own waiver provision that specifically permits the use of the waiver valuation for these properties provided the Federal funding agency approves the higher threshold beyond $10,000 and the agency agrees to offer the owner the right to have an appraisal prepared.

 
 

7. If an agency routinely follows the procedure described in 49 CFR 24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C) to provide "waiver valuations" on properties with an estimated value of up to $25,000, would it have to offer an owner the option of receiving an appraisal if the property being acquired was estimated to be worth only $3,000?

No. The owner must be offered the option of receiving an appraisal, prior to using a "waiver valuation," only if the property is estimated to be worth more than $10,000, up to a maximum of $25,000.

8. How should agencies document that they have offered a property owner the option of having the property appraised (and the owner has elected not to have an appraisal prepared),as a basis for providing a "waiver valuation" for properties with an estimated value between $10,000 and $25,000?

No particular form of documentation is prescribed in 49 CFR 24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C). However, to be consistent with other property contact requirements in this rule, the acquiring agency should offer the option to appraise to the property owner in writing, and obtain a written response from the owner. An agency must maintain adequate records, as set out in §24.9(a), in sufficient detail to demonstrate that it offered the owner the option of receiving an appraisal for the property.

17. §24.102(c)(2)(ii)(C).If an agency routinely uses waiver valuationson properties with an estimated value of up to $25,000, does it have to offer an owner the option of receiving an appraisal if the property being acquired was estimated to be worth $3,000? How should agencies document that they have offered a property owner the option of having the property appraised and the owner has elected not to have an appraisal prepared?

No, the agency does not need to offer the owner an appraisal if the estimated value is under $10,000. The owner must be offered the option of receiving an appraisal, prior to using the waiver valuation, if the property is estimated to be worth more than $10,000, up to a maximum of $25,000. No set form of documentation is prescribed. However, to be consistent with other property contact requirements in the regulation, the agency should offer the option to have the property appraised to the property owner in writing (when over $10,000), and obtain a written response from the owner. An agency must maintain adequate records, as set out in §24.9(a), in sufficient detail to demonstrate that it offered the owner the option of receiving an appraisal for the property.

 
   

18. §24.102(c)(2). What constitutes a knowledgeable person who is qualified to prepare waiver valuations?

The regulation calls for a waiver valuation preparer to have sufficient understanding of the local market. The funding agency may issue further guidance, however, it is expected that the person will be knowledgeable of local real estate sales.

 
   

19. §24.102(f). If the waiver valuation preparer makes an $8,000 offer and the owner makes a counter offer for $10,000, can the waiver valuation preparer/negotiator adjust the amount of the waiver valuation?

Yes, if market data supports such a change.

 
   

20. §24.102(i). If there is no market data to support an adjustment to the waiver valuation amount, can an administrative settlement be considered, even if the administrative settlement amount is over $10,000?

Yes, if justified and in accordance with the funding agency's approved procedure. Safeguards should be considered when the waiver valuation preparer is the negotiator and recommends an administrative settlement. It is appropriate to have a different agency official approve the administrative settlement. This can be accomplished in a cost effective manner, such as by phone, fax, or email. Administrative settlements may also be used if the funding agency is operating at the $25,000 waiver valuation level. It is not necessary to complete an appraisal in these situations.

 

Who determines the value of the property to be acquired?

Value is estimated in a two step process. An appraiser researches the real estate market and presents an estimate of market value. A reviewing appraiser evaluates that work product and recommends an amount that an agency official will approve as the acquiring agency's estimate of just compensation.

9.Who determines the offer of just compensation for the property to be acquired?

The acquiring agency determines the just compensation amount to be offered the property owner in a two-step process. An appraiser researches the real estate market and presents an appraisal of the fair market value. A review appraiser evaluates that appraisal and recommends an amount for an agency official to approve as the acquiring agency's estimate of just compensation. For some uncomplicated, low value acquisitions, the acquiring agency may determine an appraisal is not required and prepare a waiver valuation that will be the basis upon which an agency official will approve the offer of just compensation.

21. §24.102(d). Who determines the offer of just compensation for the property to be acquired?

The agency determines the just compensation amount to be offered the property owner in a two-step process. An appraiser researches the real estate market and presents an appraisal of the fair market value. A review appraiser evaluates that appraisal and recommends an amount for an agency official to approve as the agency's estimate of just compensation. For some uncomplicated, low value acquisitions, the agency may determine an appraisal is not required and prepare a waiver valuation that will be the basis upon which an agency official will approve the offer of just compensation.

 

Must all offers by an agency to acquire property be made in writing?

The first time an agency makes an offer to purchase, it must be in writing and be in the full amount approved by the agency as its estimate of just compensation. Any subsequent offers to purchase that property may be either verbal or written, depending upon agency policy and applicable law.

 

22. §24.102(d) and §24.102(g).Must all offers by an agency to acquire property be made in writing?

The first time an agency makes an offer to purchase; it must be in writing and be in the full amount approved by the agency as its estimate of just compensation. Subsequent formal offers and notices are also required to be in writing. This does not preclude the use of verbal value discussions during negotiations to arrive at an agreed purchase price for the property, depending upon agency policy and applicable law.

 

What if the owner doesn't agree with the amount offered?

The laws of the acquiring agency set forth the legal steps the agency must take when they wish to purchase property that an owner does not want to sell. An important part of this process is the determination of the amount of compensation.

Is condemnation the only solution when an agency can't reach agreement on the purchase of property for the project. No. One of the objectives of the Uniform Act is to "encourage and expedite the acquisition of real property by agreements with owners and to avoid litigation and relieve congestion in courts...". In the event negotiations for the property fail, agencies should first consider the use of an administrative settlement (49CFR24.102(i)). Agency officials may approve the use of an administrative settlement if it is reasonable, prudent and in the public interest. Agencies may also use other alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation.

 

23. §24.102(i) and §24.102(j). What if the owner doesn't agree with the amount offered? Is condemnation the only solution when an agency can't reach agreement on the purchase of property for the project?

The possibility of an administrative settlement should be explored, reference §24.102(i). Agency officials may approve the use of an administrative settlement if it is reasonable, prudent and in the public interest. Agencies may also use other alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or arbitration. If all efforts to negotiate/settle fail then the laws of the agency set forth the legal steps the agency must take when they wish to purchase property that an owner does not want to sell.

 

Can property owners provide their own appraisal to the acquiring agency?

Yes. The acquiring agency should consider all relevant information in its negotiations with property owners.

 

24. §24.102(f).Can property owners provide their own appraisal to the acquiring agency?

Yes. The agency should consider all relevant information in its negotiations with property owners.

 
   

25. §24.102(f). Which agency official is authorized to make the final settlement offer?

This is a matter of agency policy, as well as laws governing the agency. The regulation does not address or require a final settlement offer. The agency is required to consider valuation information and suggested modifications provided by the owner.

 

When should property owners be paid for their property?

As quickly as possible under the applicable laws, and at a time when the property owner is in a position to transfer title. The acquiring agency should work with the property owner to resolve any liens against the property being acquired.

 

26. §24.102(j).When should property owners be paid for their property?

Property owners should be paid as quickly as possible under the applicable laws, on or before the time the owner is required to give up physical possession. This must occur when the property owner transfers title. The agency should work with the property owner to resolve any liens against the property.

 

When can a property owner be required to turn possession of the property over to an acquiring agency?

A property owner may voluntarily turn control of their property to an acquiring agency at any time. An acquiring agency may not require a property owner to give them possession until the sale of the property is complete(payment made and title transferred)and the owner has been given notice of the acquiring agency's need to take possession. This notice to take possession is referred to, under the Uniform Act, as the 90-day notice. This notice is in writing, and may be given in one of two ways. The first way is by a single notice given once the closing on the property purchase has been completed, and provides at least 90 days advance notice of the specific date possession will be required. The second way is for a notice be given at or following the initiation of negotiations providing the property owner with assurance that they will not be required to vacate their property until a specific date at least 90 days from the time the owner is expected to receive the notice, and that upon closing of the sale transaction, they will be given another notice that will give them at least 30 days from expected receipt of the notice to vacate the property. This latter date, of course, may not be any earlier than the date already provided in the initial 90-day notice.

 

27. §24.102(j).When can a property owner be required to turn possession of the property over to an agency?

A property owner may voluntarily turn control of his or her property over to an agency at any mutually agreeable time. An agency may not require a property owner to give them possession until the sale of the property is complete, payment is made and title transferred. In the case of property used for business, residence, or farm, the owner must be given the 90-day notice in writing. In situations where condemnation is necessary, the laws governing the agency set forth the steps the agency must take to gain legal and physical possession. As in negotiated settlements, the 90-day notice on occupied property further governs the physical possession date.

 
 

10.Do the conflict of interest provisions in 49 CFR 24.102(n) apply to consultants?

Yes. Section 24.102(n) applies to all acquisitions that are subject to the Uniform Act acquisition requirements, including those undertaken by consultants. The intent of § 24.102(n)(2) is to insure appraiser independence and to shield appraisers from inappropriate influence. In the case of an appraiser who is hired by an agency or a consultant, the agency or consultant may not attempt to influence or coerce the appraiser regarding valuation, or any other aspect of an appraisal, review or waiver valuation.

28. §24.102(n).Do the conflict of interest provisions in 49 CFR §24.102 apply to consultants?

Yes. §24.102(n) applies to all acquisitions that are subject to the Uniform Act acquisition requirements, including those undertaken by consultants. The intent of §24.102(n)(2) is to insure appraiser independence and to shield appraisers from inappropriate influence. In the case of an appraiser who is hired by an agency or a consultant, the agency or consultant may not attempt to influence or coerce the appraiser regarding valuation, or any other aspect of an appraisal, review or waiver valuation.

 
 

11. What does 49 CFR 24.102(n)(2) conflict of interest mean?

The purpose of this section is to assure the agency has a valid approved appraisal, or, if appropriate, waiver valuation, that represents the fair market value for the needed real property. It is intended to prohibit attempts to coerce the appraiser or review appraiser to meet a certain "target" or "pre-agreed-on" value to be reported as the approved appraised value to support a contrived determination of just compensation to be offered a property owner. To prevent this, each situation needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is critical to prevent inappropriate influence on the valuation process that leads to, and results in, the initial offer of just compensation. To accomplish this, it is necessary for the appraiser and review appraiser's first-line supervisor to be independent of the negotiation process and not function as a negotiator. Conversely, any person functioning as a negotiator is prohibited from being the appraiser or review appraiser's first-line supervisor.

For FHWA purposes, functioning as a negotiator means initiating price negotiations with the property owner. It does not include occasional involvement in subsequent negotiations by senior level personnel. For FHWA purposes, "supervise or formally evaluate the performance," refers to the first-line supervisor.

When an agency has contracted, or a consultant has subcontracted, with an appraiser, review appraiser, or waiver valuer, there may not be a typical supervisory relationship. Nevertheless, conflict of interest provisions apply. The person who the contract appraiser, review appraiser, or waiver valuer is responsible to on an operational basis may not be the negotiator, or attempt to influence or coerce the appraiser, review appraiser or waiver valuer regarding valuation, or any other aspect of an appraisal, review, or waiver valuation process.

29. §24.102(n)(2).What does conflict of interest mean?

The purpose of this section is to assure the agency has a valid approved appraisal, or, if appropriate, waiver valuation, that represents the fair market value for the needed real property. It is intended to prohibit attempts to coerce the appraiser or review appraiser to meet a certain target or "pre-agreed-on" value to be reported as the approved appraised value to support a contrived determination of just compensation to be offered a property owner. To prevent this, each situation needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is critical to prevent inappropriate influence on the valuation process that leads to, and results in, the initial offer of just compensation. To accomplish this, it is necessary for the appraiser and review appraiser's first-line supervisor to be independent of the negotiation process and not function as a negotiator. Conversely, any person functioning as a negotiator is prohibited from being the appraiser or review appraiser's first-line supervisor.

For the FHWA, "functioning as a negotiator" means initiating price negotiations with the property owner. It does not include occasional involvement in subsequent negotiations by senior level personnel. For the FHWA, "supervise or formally evaluate the performance," refers to the first-line supervisor.

When an agency has contracted, or a consultant has subcontracted, with an appraiser, review appraiser, or waiver valuer, there may not be a typical supervisory relationship. Nevertheless, the conflict of interest provision applies. The person who the contract appraiser, review appraiser, or waiver valuer is responsible to on an operational basis may not be the negotiator, or attempt to influence or coerce the appraiser, review appraiser or waiver valuer regarding valuation, or any other aspect of an appraisal, review, or waiver valuation process.

 
 

12.Would the provision of 49 CFR 24.102(n)(2) preclude an upper level agency Manager/Director, or otherAdministrative Settlement Official who technically is the "supervisor" over the Appraisal/Appraisal Review Section from negotiating a claim for an administrative settlement or appeal?

No, as long as the person is not the individual appraiser, review appraiser or waiver valuer's first-line supervisor, or the supervisor is not the person initiating price negotiations with the property owner. There is no restriction against higher-level supervisors being involved in latter stage negotiations.

30. §24.102(n)(2). Does the conflict of interest provisionpreclude an upper level agency manager, director, or other agency administrative settlement official, who technically is the "supervisor" over the appraisal/appraisal review section, from negotiating a claim for an administrative settlement or appeal?

No, as long as the person is not the individual appraiser, review appraiser or waiver valuer's first-line supervisor, or the supervisor is not the person initiating price negotiations with the property owner. There is no restriction against higher-level supervisors being involved in the later stages of negotiation.

 
 

13. Are the waiver provisions in 49 CFR 24.102(n)(2), and the exception provision in §24.102(n)(3), related to the general waiver provision in §24.7?

No. Section 24.102(n)(2) provides that a person functioning as a negotiator may not supervise or formally evaluate the performance of an appraiser or review appraiser except that, on a federally assisted project, the Federal funding agency may waive the application of this requirement to an acquiring agency if the Federal agency "determines it would create a hardship" for the acquiring agency. This is intended to accommodate Federal aid recipients with small staffs, where this provision would be unworkable. Section 24.102(n)(3) provides that an appraiser may be permitted to act as a negotiator if the offer to acquire the property is $10,000 or less. Because of the specific language in §§24.102(n)(2) and (3), an agency can exercise the waiver described in § 24.102(n)(2), or the $10,000 or under exception in §24.102(n)(3), without recourse to the general waiver provision in §24.7.

31. §24.102(n)(2). Is this waiver, and the exception in §24.102(n)(3), related to the general waiver provision in §24.7?

No. §24.102(n)(2) provides that a person functioning as a negotiator may not supervise or formally evaluate the performance of an appraiser or review appraiser except that, on a federally assisted project, the Federal funding agency may waive the application of this requirement to an acquiring agency if the Federal agency determines it would create a hardship for the agency. This is intended to accommodate a Federal aid recipient with a small staff, where this provision would be unworkable. §24.102(n)(3) provides that an appraiser may be permitted to act as a negotiator if the offer to acquire the property is $10,000 or less. Because of the specific language in §24.102(n), an agency can exercise the waiver described in §24.102(n)(2), or the $10,000 or under exception in §24.102(n)(3), without recourse to the general waiver provision provided for by §24.7.

 
 

14. What does "consistent" mean with respect to the appraisal criteria in § 24.103and the provisions of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)?

The appraisal criteria in § 24.103 are considered to be consistent with USPAP. Both are designed and intended to produce accurate valuation information. Section 24.103 and the rest of Part 24 implement Federal statutory requirements in the Uniform Act that specifically apply to the acquisition of real property for Federal and federally assisted projects. Those statutory requirements, and their implementing regulations, are not exactly the same as the USPAP provisions, but are generally similar and compatible. This subject was carefully considered during the development of the final rule, and is discussed in some detail in Appendix A, § 24.103(a).

32. §24.103. What does "consistent" mean with respect to the appraisal criteria and the provisions of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)?

The appraisal criteria in §24.103 are considered to be consistent with USPAP. Both are designed and intended to produce accurate valuation information. §24.103 and the rest of the regulation implement the Federal statutory requirements in the Uniform Act that specifically apply to the acquisition of real property for Federal and federally assisted projects. Those statutory requirements, and their implementing regulations, are not exactly the same as the USPAP provisions, but are generally similar and compatible. This subject was carefully considered during the development of the regulation, and is discussed in some detail in appendix A, §24.103(a).

 
 

15. Do appraisals ordered or contracted for before the effective date of the final rule (February 3, 2005) need to be revised to reflect the new "scope of work" requirements?

No. It is not intended that the issuance of the final rule would affect agreements for appraisals or other procedural documentation that were finalized prior to the rule's effective date. Any agreements that were not finalized prior to the rule's effective date should address the new provisions added by the final rule.

  Deleted
 

16. 49 CFR 24.103(a)(1) and (2). How does the "scope of work" requirement relate to abbreviated appraisal formats?

The scope of work requirement applies to all appraisal formats. The extent of the scope of work statement depends on the circumstances of each acquisition. Additional scope of work guidance is provided in Appendix A §24.103(a), (a)(1) and (a)(2)). The scope of work statement should consider the five specific requirements in § 24.103(a)(2)(i) through (v), and address them as appropriate. A scope of work is not required for a waiver valuation, because a waiver valuation is not an appraisal.

33. §24.103(a). How does the scope of work requirement relate to abbreviated appraisal formats?

The scope of work requirement applies to all appraisal formats. The extent of the scope of work statement depends on the circumstances of each acquisition. Additional scope of work guidance is provided in appendix A §24.103(a). The scope of work statement should consider the five specific requirements in §24.103(a)(2)(i) through (v), and address them as appropriate. A scope of work is not required for a waiver valuation because a waiver valuation is not an appraisal.

 

Who are qualified appraisers?

The most complete sources of persons with appraisal credentials are the state appraisal licensing agencies. Public employees serving as appraisers already have been evaluated for conformance with qualification standards and may not be required in some states to be licensed or certified. For an appraiser to be considered to be qualified for a specific appraisal assignment, experience or technical expertise in the kind of appraisal effort appropriate is also necessary.

17. Who are qualified appraisers?

Under 49 CFR 24.103(d), qualified appraisers are those determined by the acquiring agency to be capable to perform the appraisal work needed. The rule requires acquiring agencies to establish criteria for determining qualifications and competency. Only those appraisers and review appraisers who meet those requirements should be hired. The rule lists several standards the agency shall review when determining an appraiser or review appraiser's qualifications.

34. §24.103(d). Who are qualified appraisers?

Qualified appraisers are those determined by the agency to be capable to perform the appraisal work needed. The regulation requires agencies to establish criteria for determining qualifications and competency. Only those appraisers and review appraisers who meet those requirements should be hired. The regulation lists several standards the agency shall review when determining an appraiser or review appraiser's qualifications.

 
 

18. Are contract (fee) review appraisers required to hold a state certification or license in the same manner as is required of contract (fee) appraisers?

No. However, FHWA encourages partner agencies to include State certification or licensing as a factor to judge the qualification of the review appraiser. If contract (fee) review appraisers are used, the rule only requires the agency to match the review appraiser's qualifications with the scope of work of the appraisals he/she reviews.

35.§24.103.Are contract (fee) review appraisers required to havea state certification or license in the same manner as is required of contract (fee) appraisers?

No. However, the FHWA encourages partner agencies to include State certification or licensing as a factor to judge the qualification of the review appraiser. If contract (fee) review appraisers are used, the regulation only requires the agency to match the review appraiser's qualifications with the scope of work of the appraisals he/she reviews. Selection of the appraiser is an agency decision.

 
 

19. Does the requirement to include items identified as personal property and real property as part of an adequate description of the property being appraised require the appraiser and relocation agent to prepare a list of both real and personal property for both residential and commercial property?

How does the identification of personal property in the appraisal relate to the relocation requirements?

The intent of this provision is to avoid situations where an item is included in the appraised value and subsequently also relocated at agency expense. To avoid this, the appraiser and the relocation agent should agree on which questionable items are to be appraised and which are to be relocated. The personal property items included in the appraisal should be listed in the appraisal report. This should be done in all situations, whether the property is residential, commercial, or other use, where there is a question how a particular item is to be handled.

36. §24.103(a)(2)(i) and appendix §24.103(a)(1).Does the requirement to include items identified as personal property and real property, as part of an adequate description of the property being appraised, require the appraiser and relocation agent to prepare lists of both real and personal property for residential and commercial property?

The intent of this provision is to avoid situations where an item is included in the appraised value and subsequently also relocated at agency expense. To avoid this, the appraiser and the relocation agent should agree on which questionable items are to be appraised and which are to be relocated. The personal property items included in the appraisal should be listed in the appraisal report. This should be done in all situations, whether the property is residential, commercial, or other use, where there is a question how a particular item is to be handled.

Items of real property being appraised should identify ownership, i.e., tenant-owned or lessor-owned, if applicable. The relocation advisory services interview with business owners should address and resolve these issues.

 
 

20. Is the review appraiser acting as an appraiser under USPAP? How do USPAP standards apply?

For appraisal review activities related to property acquisition performed under the Uniform Act, all of the review appraiser's actions are specified by §24.104, and are considered to be part of the appraisal review process required by the rule. Note that even though § 24.104 does require the review appraiser to comply with §24.103 appraisal requirements when developing an independent approved or recommended value, it also specifically cites this work as being part of the review. USPAP is not an appropriate measure of the review appraiser's activities. [See 49 CFR 24.104(b)]

Compliance with USPAP standards is not required by this rule. Appraisal and appraisal review reports are to be prepared in accordance with 49 CFR Part 24 written and approved requirements, which we believe are consistent with, but not necessarily identical to, USPAP. We believe appraisal reviews performed in compliance with 49 CFR 24.104 requirements do comply with USPAP Standard 3. In any case, we believe USPAP's Jurisdictional Exception Rule would keep performance that follows 49 CFR Part 24 appraisal and appraisal review requirements in compliance with USPAP, since 49 CFR is a rule implementing a law and public policy.

37. §24.104.Is the review appraiser acting as an appraiser under USPAP? How do USPAP standards apply?

For appraisal review activities related to acquisition performed under the Uniform Act, all of the review appraiser's actions are specified by, and are considered to be part of the appraisal review process required by 49 CFR Part 24. Note that, even though §24.104 does require the review appraiser to comply with §24.103 appraisal requirements when developing an independent approved or recommended value, it also specifically cites this work as being part of the review itself. USPAP is not an appropriate measure of the review appraiser's activities.

Compliance with USPAP standards is not required by this regulation. Appraisal and appraisal review reports are to be prepared in accordance with the Uniform Act regulation, which the FHWA believes is consistent with, but not necessarily identical to, USPAP. The FHWA believes that appraisal reviews performed in compliance §24.104 requirements do comply with USPAP Standard 3.

 
 

21.Can a fee review appraiser approve the appraisal or just recommend it?

A fee review appraiser (or any review appraiser) may recommend an appraisal, as the basis for establishing the amount believed to be just compensation by the agency. [See 49 CFR 24.104(a)] However, based upon the language in the Uniform Act Sec. 301(3), the approval of the appraisal must be by the agency, that is to say, an in-house approval.

Any review appraiser may also accept the appraisal as meeting all requirements but not select it as recommended (this may be appropriate when there are multiple appraisals), or determine the appraisal to be not acceptable. [See 49 CFR 24.104(a)] Only an acquiring agency staff employee, including a staff review appraiser, may be authorized by the agency to approve the appraisal as the basis for establishment of the amount believed to be just compensation. Such employee may, if authorized, develop and report the amount believed to be just compensation. [See 49 CFR 24.104(a)]

38. §24.104(a). Can a fee review appraiser approve the appraisal or just recommend it?

A fee review appraiser, or any review appraiser, may recommend an appraisal, as the basis for establishing the amount believed to be just compensation by the agency. However, based upon the language in the Uniform Act, Section 301(3), the approval of the appraisal must be by the agency, that is to say, an in-house approval.

Any review appraiser may also accept the appraisal as meeting all requirements but not select it as recommended. This may be appropriate when there are multiple appraisals, or determine the appraisal to be not acceptable. Only an agency staff employee, including a staff review appraiser, may be authorized by the agency to approve the appraisal as the basis for establishment of the amount believed to be just compensation. Such employee may, if authorized, develop and report the amount believed to be just compensation.

 
 

22. What constitutes a review appraiser's written report? What if there are multiple appraisals? Is a stamp and signature procedure sufficient, and if so, would it raise USPAP issues?

The review appraiser's written report must identify the appraisal reports reviewed, identify any damages or benefits to any remaining property, document the findings and conclusions arrived at during the review of the appraisals, and provide a signed certification that states the parameters of the review and the approved value. If authorized to do so, the review appraiser's certification shall also establish the amount believed to be just compensation.

The review appraiser shall identify each appraisal as recommended, accepted, or not accepted, in accordance with § 24.104(a). Each appraisal reviewed should be identified in the review appraiser's report.

39. §24.104(a). What constitutes a review appraiser's written report? What if there are multiple appraisals? Is a stamp and signature procedure sufficient, and if so, would it raise USPAP issues?

The review appraiser's written report must identify the appraisal reports reviewed, identify any damages or benefits to any remaining property, document the findings and conclusions arrived at during the review of the appraisals, and provide a signed certification that states the parameters of the review and the approved value. If authorized to do so, the review appraiser's certification shall establish the amount believed to be just compensation.

The review appraiser shall identify each appraisal as recommended, accepted, or not accepted. Each appraisal reviewed should be identified in the review appraiser's report. A stamp (recommended, accepted, or not accepted) and a review appraiser's signature would not be sufficient to satisfy §24.104(c) requirements. However, as described in the appendix, for a low value property requiring only a simple appraisal process, the review appraiser's recommendation and/or approval, may be determined to satisfy the requirement for the review appraiser's signed report and certification.

 
 

23. Section 24.205(c)(2)(ii)(E). If agencies are required to provide transportation for displaced persons, what is an agency to do in a rural area where there is no public transportation, and agents are prohibited by their human resources department from using a company car for non-city/county employees? (Private insurance doesn't cover the passenger if there were an accident in their privately owned vehicle.)

The agency needs to assess the needs of the displaced person and develop viable alternatives to meet the needs identified. The agency may need to rent a car for the displaced person, hire someone to take them around (possibly a local realtor), etc. In a rural setting, it may be even more critical to assist a displaced person who has no means of transportation. If the person has their own transportation, the agency may pay for their mileage costs.

  Moved to Question #52
   

40. §24.103(a)(2)(iii). Is the requirement to verify property sales information by a party involved in the transaction limited to the grantor or grantee?

Sales verification is an essential part of the research underlying the data used to support an appraisal and the degree of inquiry should be commensurate with the scope of work of the appraisal assignment. Verification can be with any party involved in the transaction that has sufficient knowledge of the specific components of the sale to provide insight into the considerations and motivations that lead to the agreed upon sale price at the date of sale.

 
   

41. §24.102(f) Can an agency use the Global Settlement method when negotiating the acquisition of property for federal and federal-aid projects?  This method as currently defined is the combining of just compensation for acquired real property including incidental acquisition expenses and all relocation benefits in the offer of settlement by the acquiring agency. In most acquiring agencies this settlement offer is made prior to the expenditure of relocation expenses by the property owner or tenant?

The Uniform Act and implementing regulations in 49 CFR Part 24 require that certain incidental expenses and relocation benefits including relocation housing payments be based on actual costs. These costs are not generally available at the time negotiations for the real property are completed by acquiring agencies. In addition, most residential moving costs and many business moving expenses must also be based on actual expenditures. FHWA is requesting proponents of the Global Settlement method to provide an explanation of their proposed use and the perceived advantage/s of using this settlement concept. When we receive supporting information on their proposed methodology we will determine if their proposals can meet current Uniform Act and regulatory provisions.

Until such a determination is completed, the use of Global Settlements on federal and federal-aid projects is not permitted.

 
Updated: 09/05/2014
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