Understanding Property Rights Law and Real Estate Parcels

Property rights law is an important factor in defining the boundaries of real estate parcels. A legal description is a detailed and specific geographical description of a plot of land that is used to identify it in legal transactions, such as the purchase and sale of properties. This description is essential for understanding what exactly the law will recognize as your property. It is always included in any deed of transfer of ownership so that the person receiving the property knows what they are receiving.

Property lines, or boundary lines, are used to mark the points where properties begin and end. These limits are necessary when installing elements such as fences, swimming pools and home extensions. Some property lines have physical markers, while others are invisible. Sales contracts, deeds, mortgages, and trust deeds require a legal description of the property that is legally sufficient to be binding, meaning that the description would allow a competent surveyor to outline the exact boundaries of the property.

The legal description of a property does not include the buildings that comprise it, only the boundaries of the property. This description is also an important factor when setting the price of the property. While an address is necessary to locate the property, it is not sufficient to identify it. Addresses tend to change names over time, and even physical boundaries can change course, such as that of a local stream.

Any legal description of a property must necessarily form an enclosed area. The meters and limits are used to identify a real estate plot by its natural landmarks. The reference points of meters and limits are often used in a “legal description” of land. This description is preserved together with the land writing.

In legal descriptions, meters and limits are considered the most accurate way to describe land in some jurisdictions. Where a neighbor can build a fence on the property depends on local laws and any writing restrictions on any of their homes. Generally, when you own a plot of land, you own everything on the surface and below it within the boundary, unless those rights have been legally transferred to another person, such as rights to underground minerals. If your neighbor is thinking of building a fence on the boundary between their two houses, you should know all applicable laws and regulations.

You might even be able to find maps of neighboring properties if you have shared property lines. Some properties may have easements that allow other people to legally use or access them, even if they are privately owned. As a general rule, laws generally state that a fence must be built at a minimum distance of 2 to 8 inches from the neighbor's property limit. Some newer properties may include property line markers, such as stakes, from when they were first divided.