Clients are owed an allegiance which precludes conflicts of interest and respect for requests for confidentiality. Within the frame work identified herein, we provide unbiased professional service.
A client relationship can only be defined by space, intended use and time. The relationship is bounded by geographic bounds that can be as small as a property or as large as a defined service area – lacking contractual definition, the smallest possible area will constitute the geographic bounds of the relationship. The intended use of an appraisal or consulting assignment may be different for different clients even though it is for the same property. An appraisal of a property may be prepared for one use by one party and another use for another party without generating a conflict of interest. The property cannot be appraised for the same use for different parties at the same time without their agreement – this would violate the confidentiality of the conclusions transmitted to each client. For example, we will not appraise a property for opposite sides of a court case without prior approval. Lastly, a client relationship is also bounded by time. It starts when we enter into an agreement to perform services and continues until the client’s intended use of the appraisal or consulting service has been abandoned or fulfilled.
We do not sell, trade or give nonpublic personal financial information that our clients (or their representatives) provide about themselves to marketers (direct mail, telephone solicitation, emailing, etc.). The same applies when our client is a lender, accountant, trust administrator, attorney, etc. and they provide nonpublic personal financial information about their client to us.
From time to time, we resell marketing lists accumulated by others. We do not own, manage, filter, examine or accept responsibility for any information about our clients that may be contained in these lists.
Appraisal conclusions are considered confidential information. We will not reveal our opinions of the value of the property appraised without prior instruction from the client.
We do share information with brokers and other appraisers.
We do not release information furnished by a client that is labeled confidential when furnished and which has not been obtained from a another source that does not require confidentiality.
We do not release non-public personal information (i.e., pages from tax returns, social security numbers, file numbers, account numbers, or non-real estate business financial statements) to anyone, ever. We will publish this type of information in appraisal reports when it is furnished to us in order for us to appraise a property. In this case, the distribution of the report is intended to be limited to our client.
We may, from time to time, communicate with past, present and future clients, for purposes of marketing our services.
While researching the market, we respect the wishes for confidentiality of market participants who are not clients for the assignment for which the research is being performed. For example, if a source says that he will share information with us, but wants us to keep it confidential; we will not release the identity of the source or the property. We will report this information in such a way that neither the source nor the property can be identified.
In spite of the foregoing, our files are required to be open to state regulators and to duly authorized Appraisal Institute peer review committees. Peer review committees are bound to keep confidential whatever information they may observe in the file. If required by law or court, we must release information – there is no privilege for communications between an appraiser and his client.
A consumer is an individual (or their representative) who obtains an appraisal or consulting service for personal, family or household purposes. This class of client orders appraisals very infrequently and neither expects nor is furnished ongoing service beyond delivery of an opinion of value.
Non-public personal financial information collected may include name, address, telephone number, other contact information, terms of pending real estate transactions involving personal or family homes, reasons for selling/buying. Except for the identity of the client, we consider this information to be confidential while the real estate transaction is pending and will not release this information until after the real estate transaction is completed. However, if a client specifically requests that his/her identity not be revealed during the course of the assignment, we will respect that wish.
Lenders are financial institutions, as defined by federal law and rule, who contract Miner & Silverstein to perform appraisal and other consulting services. This document will address sources of information that a lender might furnish to Miner & Silverstein: the lender’s own corporate information; financial information from non-consumers contracting for services with the lender such as corporations, trusts, or individuals conducting business for personal, family or household purposes; and personal financial information of consumers who contract for services with the lender.
A Lender’s corporate information typically furnished to Miner & Silverstein will be handled in accordance with the policies delineated under General, above and Other Businesses, below.
Information provided in connection with appraisal or consulting assignments engaged by the lender for non-consumers will be handled in accordance with the policies delineated under General, above and Other Businesses, below.
Non-public personal financial data provided by a consumer to a Lender will be treated as directed by the Lender as we will not have a business or customer relationship with the consumer for this transaction. We must assume that if we are furnished the non-public personal financial information of a consumer, and not provided any instructions on its confidentiality, that the consumer has not opted out of having the information furnished to Miner & Silverstein for appraisal or consulting purposes. It will then be handled in accordance with the practices noted in General and Consumer, above. If our lender client has any special instructions for the handling of information furnished as a result of any particular transaction (i.e., appraisal or consulting assignment), then these instructions should be delineated at the time the assignment has been made or at such time as the consumer’s instructions change.
Confidential information provided by any business client will be handled in accordance with the policy outlined in General, above. However, we may excerpt market information that has been identified as confidential with brokers or appraisers so long as the excerpt is brief enough to prevent a reader from identifying the client or property. By so doing we balance the needs of our client with the need of the market for the free flow of information. For example, the terms of a lease transaction might be described without sufficient information to determine the property location, the lessor or the lessee.
In our consulting practice, the possession of non-public knowledge about a client’s plans can affect the outcome of a potential assignment for another when the two parties have plans that would be competing should they both be implemented. In such circumstances we will not accept an assignment for the second party without first gaining permission from the first party to release the non-public information. This practice respects the confidential requirements of the first client and does not require us to issue a report based upon known but ignored market conditions; which would be a disservice to the second party. For example, a client hires us to do a market study for a housing development they are proposing in a local town. Later, while the development is still active but not yet public knowledge, a second developer requests us to perform a market analysis or appraisal for a similar project in the same town. We would not accept the second assignment unless the first developer authorized us to incorporate relevant portions of what we knew of his development plans in our analysis of the second project.