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Unclassified Assistants May Perform Only Ministerial Acts

In January, 1997, the Board adopted Rule 539-1-.19 designed to clarify the ways in which appraisers can utilize unclassified assistants in the development and reporting of an appraisal assignment. While unclassified persons "may not render significant professional assistance in arriving at a real estate appraisal analysis, opinion, or conclusion," they can provide assistance that is ministerial in nature.

Ministerial acts are those that do not require discretion or the exercise of judgment in following the specific instructions of an appraiser. Anytime an appraiser utilizes the services of an unclassified person in a ministerial capacity, the appraiser is responsible for the acts of the unclassified person and is subject to disciplinary action if the unclassified assistant violates the Appraisal Act or the Board's Rules.

In order to provide guidance to appraisers, the Board identified some specific activities that unclassified assistants can perform along with other activities that are prohibited.

Among the activities that unclassified assistants can perform are clerical tasks such as checking the appraiser's data for accuracy, typing the appraiser's notes or typing an appraisal report. They can accompany an appraiser on an inspection of a property and assist in measuring the property. However, they can only inspect or measure a property if there is a classified appraiser present. Unclassified assistants can also take photographs as long as the appraiser selects the properties and views to be photographed. Moreover, they can obtain copies of tax cards, deeds, and maps as well as data from data bases relating to properties that the appraiser has selected.

Prohibited activities for unclassified persons include drafting or signing an appraisal report and selecting comparables or adjusting comparables in an appraisal assignment. Finally, persons lacking an appraisal classification can not discuss any confidential information in an appraisal assignment or the report itself with anyone except the appraiser responsible for the assignment.