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Lot and Block System


Subdivision system method used to describe land by identifying property through lot numbers, addresses, and blocks.


The lot and block survey system, commonly referred to as the recorded map survey system is the most popular land description method for densely populated regions including cities, suburbs, and other locations where property is closely located to other properties.

There are three methods of a land’s legal description. The three methods include:

Lot and block system

Metes and bounds system

Rectangular survey system

While it is acceptable for all three methods to be used, there is typically more than one method used to describe a given piece of land.

The lot and block system is the last of the three major land description methods. The method involves breaking down large tracts of land into smaller parcels to better describe the location and size of land. Naturally the method became the most common and widespread choice in areas where the country began to grow and cities started to become more widespread. This includes in areas that were being converted from farms into city’s and others.

How Land is Divided Using the Lot and Block System

A lot and block system is the most commonly used land measurement system for metropolitan and suburban communities. Also known as a recorded plat survey, or recorded map survey, this method is used to define the location of a property and its boundaries. Before the lot and block system is utilized, a large segment of property will be subdivided into smaller tracts, typically using the metes and bounds system.

Once the larger portion of the land is divided, the lot and block system will be used to further reduce the property into smaller segments. The purpose of using this form of land measurement system is to accurately describe the subject property to the most minute level. Unlike other methods which use estimates or descriptions which may be viewed as ambiguous or difficult to understand, the lot and block system is a detailed and easy to understand measurement method.

Once the land is approved for subdivision using the measurements of the lot and block system, the plat map is executed indicating the division of land. Approval of the measurements is accepted by the county recorder’s office who will then record the lot for public records. Each subdivided lot will then be given its own legal description and identifying name. This system is typically the one used for residential real estate and is utilized by buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals to understand the official lot being bought, sold, or transferred.

Popularity of the Lot and Block System

Of all the land measurement models, the lot and block system is the easiest to understand for average consumers. For this reason, this is the system utilized by most county recorder’s office as the standard land measurement tool. The lot and block description typically includes all of the following: city name, county name, APN Number, street number and name of street, including a legal description of where the property begins and ends, its boundaries, and the location of the recording of the description. To be more specific in the description of the property, one could also reference the book and page number of the county recorders book of records.

Example of Land Description


Prospective buyer Sam Krockyan wishes to purchase the property on Elm Street as his primary residence. Sam is potentially interested in buying the house because of its location close to the city and the possibility that he could grow his dream garden in the backyard. Buying the house for Sam is dependent on the boundaries of the house and where the home begins and ends. Sam asks the seller Mary Joseph to provide him with the legal description of the property. How would Mary get the official description of the property?

Mary should go to the county recorder’s office and request the legal description of the property. Once she gets the legal description it will describe the property as 265 S. Elm Street, lot 14 of block 8, as shown in Book 19, Page 123, recorded on 12-12-1960.

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