Metes And Bounds Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Metes And Bounds, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Metes And Bounds?

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History and Meaning of Metes And Bounds

Metes and bounds is one of the oldest methods of land description dating back to the 1600s in England. It is a land survey system that determines the boundaries and measurements of a piece of land by using physical features, such as trees, rocks, and streams, as well as compass bearings and distances. The metes and bounds method involves creating a detailed written description of the perimeter of a tract of land, typically starting at a designated point of intersection and tracing out the boundaries using a series of courses.

In the United States, the metes and bounds system was used extensively in early colonial times, and it remains the primary method of land description in many eastern states, particularly those that predate the Public Land Survey System. Metes and bounds descriptions are often used for irregularly shaped parcels of land, such as those found in rural areas.

Examples of Metes And Bounds

  1. The deed for a rural property might include a metes and bounds description, such as "beginning at a large oak tree by the creek and following a fence line 200 feet due north, then turning 90 degrees to the east for 300 feet along an old stone wall, and then continuing for 150 feet due south, finally turning 90 degrees to the west and following the creek for 100 feet to the starting point."

  2. A boundary dispute between neighboring property owners might require a surveyor to use the metes and bounds method to determine the exact location of each property line.

  3. A landowner might use the metes and bounds system to request a zoning change, proving that a piece of land under consideration is suitable for a particular use.

Legal Terms Similar to Metes And Bounds

  1. Public Land Survey System (PLSS): A system of land surveying used in the United States to standardize the process of dividing and describing land.

  2. Land Patent: A legal document that gives the holder title to a piece of land granted by the government.

  3. Adverse Possession: A legal principle that allows someone who has used another's property openly and continuously for a certain period of time to claim ownership of the property.