What Is a Land Description?

K. Kinsella

A land description is a document that describes the exact location and the legal boundaries of a piece of land. The description normally includes measurements of the property as well as its geographic location. Laws in most countries require local authorities to keep records of land and property ownership in the form of documents called deeds. To be legally valid, a property deed must contain a land description.

A property survey can determine the legal boundaries of a piece of land.
A property survey can determine the legal boundaries of a piece of land.

When real estate is bought or sold, the purchaser normally hires a government certified appraiser to inspect the property and assess its value. The property appraiser must conduct an inspection of any buildings on the property and estimate the value of the land that the property sits on. Prior to conducting a property appraisal, the appraiser must verify the exact boundaries of the property by reading the land description on the deed.

In order to finance a piece of real estate, the owner must provide the lender with the land description. The mortgage document contains the legal description of the property, including the land. A signed mortgage document is taken to the local courthouse and recorded in the public records. The clerk of court matches up the land description on the mortgage with the recorded property records and ensures that the lien is placed on the correct piece of property.

Property owners often erect fences to separate their land from neighboring properties. On some occasions, property owners mistakenly place fences on neighboring land rather than on the exact boundary line between the two properties. In these instances, legal disputes often arise between the property owners, and property disputes often end up being settled by a land surveyor. Surveyors specialize in producing property surveys, and during a dispute a survey is used to help property owners to identify the exact boundary between two plots of land.

Builders and construction companies have to submit a copy of the land description of a piece of property whenever planning applications are submitted for new construction projects. In most countries, local laws specify how different plots of land can be used. Government employees who review construction permits must make sure that the project being proposed does not contravene local laws about how that particular plot of land can be used. Rules in some areas limit not just how a particular plot of land can be used but also how land in the surrounding area can be developed. Consequently, land descriptions must be carefully reviewed before any new planning permission applications can be granted.

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