Appellate Court ruling could prevent homeowners from using floor plans for appraisals, tax assessments
WASHINGTON (April 05, 2022) – The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) supports the effort to appeal the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Designworks Homes, Inc. v. Columbia House of Brokers Realty, Inc. to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Appellate Court decision means homeowners may be found liable for copyright infringement for using a reproduction of the floor plan of their home —including a copy or even a sketch of the floor plan—without authorization from their architect. This includes the use of floor plan reproductions or use of floor plan measurements in appraisals for mortgages, tax assessments, property evaluation documents, insurance documents, or home improvements.
“Property owners have the right to use the floor plan and measurements of their property as they see fit,” said American Property Owners Alliance President, Jim Imhoff. “The Eighth Circuit ruling is a direct threat to that right and we support giving the Supreme Court the opportunity to reverse the Appellate Court’s misguided decision.”
The Eighth Circuit Court ruling is deeply unpopular, according to an online survey of 1,029 homeowners who voted in the 2020 Presidential election. The survey was conducted by The Alliance from March 15-20, 2022 and has a margin of error +/- 3%. The survey found:
- 71% of respondents strongly agree you have the right to do what you want with your property, as long as you respect your neighbors, don’t harm others, or break the law.
- 85% of respondents strongly agree you have the right to remodel or renovate the inside of your home as you see fit, consistent with local building codes where applicable.
- 89% of respondents strongly agree homeowners should be able to create a floorplan of their home anytime they want, and select whomever they want to fulfill that task.
- 83% of respondents strongly agree the owner of a home has the right to use the measurements of the inside of that home, along with online design tools, to ensure that new furniture and appliances would fit before making those significant purchases.
About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
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