Section 7: Confidentiality of AppraisalsAnchor: #i1005802
The appraisal report is not to be shown to, read to, permitted to be read by, or lent to any person other than employees of TxDOT, the OAG and the FHWA, and only then in the discharge of the official business of TxDOT. “Official business” includes supplying the property owner with his or her copy of the report, pursuant to Texas Property Code, §21.0111. The appraisal report is for use of TxDOT in determining just compensation, for study and review by the negotiator and, when applicable, for use by the OAG in eminent domain proceedings, and for review by the FHWA for federal cost participation.
From the OAG’s viewpoint, the purpose of the appraisal report is for the state’s use in connection with the investigation and defense of the claims of the property owner for compensation and damages, if any, arising out of the property acquisition by TxDOT. Appraisal reports, therefore, must be confidential. This should not be construed to mean that review of such reports should be denied to authorized personnel engaged in a legal audit of TxDOT.
Subject to Open Records Act requirements, which may require disclosure, appraisal reports may only be disclosed after all parcels on a project have been acquired. Any request for disclosure before that time should be handled as open record requests within its timelines.
TxDOT requires that all fee appraisers hold either a Texas certified residential or certified general appraiser license. Therefore, in those instances where an appraiser must make his/her reports or work files available for audit by the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board or a recognized appraisal organization, there is no violation of confidentiality with TxDOT concerning reports on parcels that have already been acquired by the state. This also holds true for named individuals providing significant real property assistance who do not sign the appraisal certification but who are named in the certification.