New Privacy Law Makes Some Residential Information Unavailable on Appraisal District Websites

As the result of legislation recently enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature, some information formerly carried in the property records on appraisal district websites will no longer be available over the Internet.

SB 541, effective September 1, 2005, provides that appraisal district websites cannot display photographs, sketches, or floor plans of an improvement to real property that is designed primarily for use as a human residence. Likewise, aerial photography of residential property will also be unavailable unless the photo depicts five or more separately owned buildings.

On the Kaufman County Appraisal District website, www.kaufman-cad.org, the change will impact all sketches and photos of residential AND commercial properties. We feel that this will be the safest and most accurate way of addressing this new law.

The bill was passed as a public safety measure to guard against the possibility that thieves or burglars might use the residential photographs or sketches to help plan crimes in residential areas. While the information will no longer be available on appraisal district websites, it can be accessed under the Texas Public Information Act if the person wishing to see it comes in person to the appraisal district office.

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