Land description

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A Land description location of the written words which delineate a specific piece of real property. Also known as a "Legal Description". In the written transfer of real property, it is universally required that the instrument of conveyance (deed) include a written description of the property.

Legal land description[edit]


  • In many parts of Canada the original subdivision of crown land was done by township surveys. Different sizes of townships have been used (e.g. Québec's irregularly shaped cantons and Ontario's concession townships), but all were designed to provide rectangular farm lots within a defined rural community.[1] The survey of a township was essentially a subdivision survey, because the plan of the township was registered and the lots (sometimes called sections) were numbered. The description of a whole lot for legal purposes is complete in the identification of the township and the lot within the township.
  • A legal land description in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta would be defined by the Dominion Land Survey. For example the village of Yarbo, Saskatchewan is located at the legal land description of SE-12-20-33-W1, which would be the South East quarter of Section 12, Township 20, Range 33, West of the first meridian.
  • A legal land description in British Columbia Fraser Valley Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver) is defined by land surveys based out of New Westminster. Land in New Westminster Townsite corresponding to present day New Westminster is labelled as such while land outside the townsite is labelled as being in New Westminster District.[2] The Main subdivisions are District Lots that represent parcel sales to settlers mostly in the time from 1860-1890. District lots are numbered from DL1 to over DL3,000. These District Lots are still represented on the cadastral maps of British Columbia. Later these lots would be subdivided to form blocks and residential lots. A typical address would thus indicate a lot number, a block range, and the original District Lot from which it was subdivided.

United States[edit]

Land descriptions within the United States can generally be classified as one of these basic types (1) the "metes and bounds" system; (2) the US Public Land Survey system; and (3) the "lot and block" survey system. Some legal descriptions blend more than one of these systems.

  • Metes and bounds
  • "Bounded By" description
  • An aliquot part of the US Public Land Survey System: The legal description of a tract of land under the PLSS includes the name of the state, name of the county, township number, range number, section number, and portion of a section.
  • Lot and Block survey system or lot shown on a similar subdivision map
  • A strip description
  • sections
  • The proper method of constructing a description of a parcel of rural land for a deed, easement or other legal document varies. However, it is important that basic principles be consistent no matter whether the land description is constructed longhand or in the commonly accepted shorthand method. It is important that there be no commas in the description; it should read as a continuous string and the primary words should be capitalized. A correct longhand description reads as follows: The Southeast Quarter of Section 31 Township-125-North Range-87-West of the Fifth Principal Meridian. The same description in shorthand looks like this: SE¼ of Sec. 31 T125N R87W of the 5th P.M. or, still shorter, like this: SE¼ 31 T125N R87W. An improperly constructed land description might look like this: The south east quarter, of section 31, township 125 North, range 87 west, of the fifth principal meridian. Or: se ¼, of sec. 31, t 125 N, r 87 w, of the 5th pm.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Canadian Encyclopedia, History of Cartography,Official Surveys:Cadastral Surveying, by L.M. Sebert
  2. ^ Vancouver, a Visual History, Bruce MacDonald, 1992, page 15

External links[edit]

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