Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-18-124.(a)
A professional land surveyor, the professional land surveyor’s agents, employees and personnel under the professional land surveyor’s supervision, may go on, over and upon the lands of others when necessary to perform surveys for the location of property corners, boundary lines, rights-of-way and easements, and, in so doing, may carry with them their customary equipment and vehicles.TCA 62-18-124.(a)
This means that a surveyor and/or crew can cross a person’s land in the course of performing a survey. We are exempt from trespass as we need to be able to gather enough information to accurately survey the land we were retained to survey. To be clear, this does not limit access to only adjoining lands as we may need to survey half the world just to reestablish the corners of a small lot.
Also, TCA 62-18-124 does not allow a surveyor/crew, ” to destroy, injure, damage or move anything on the lands of another.” This does not prevent us from having to dig up buried corners or cut through brush to get to the corners. We are, however, liable for any damages we may cause. Luckily for us, as long as we cause, “no unnecessary injury, [we] are liable only for the actual damage done, and, if sued in such case, the plaintiff shall recover only as much costs as damages.” I believe that this translates as if you sue us, you are going to get your $12 for the needed grass seed, but are not going to get punitive damages or lost wages or anything.
Our crews take great pains to not do any more “damage” to a property than is absolutely necessary. If we are forced to trim a tree for access to a corner, we will do so in a manner as to prevent as much harm to the tree and the aesthetics as possible.
Now, all that being said, we are not going to stand and argue with the person with a gun. Thankfully, if we absolutely have to have access and the landowner is being restrictive, TCA 62-18-124.(f) has us covered. We can go to the circuit or chancery court in the area we are working and petition for “injunctive relief.”