Hello Fellow Surveyors,

What are the definitions of Lot Line and Property Line? Can they be used interchangeably?

Your input would be appreciated.

Thanks, Paul

lot line vs property line in surveying

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Ordinarily, in the PLSS, the lot lines on the original survey plat become the property lines. but of course not always.

Due to the fact that some surveyors follow the "bogus theory" that only the protracted lot lines of the PLSS sections can become the property lines and ignores the existing monumented lot lines....then there exists two lines on the ground, each supposedly representing the same line.

That is why that theory is bogus, as there can only be one line on the ground that is the property line between adjoining land owners .


Would it not seem right that a client who wants to know where his/her property line is, hires a surveyor to find that property line?

One would think that the landowner would not be interested in the position of the original protracted lot line, if it was not the property line?


Here property line is the boundary which is on ground we survey,lot line which is depicted in plan,which should be the same if there is no encroachments and portion acquired for development.we do the survey and the plan is suprimposed and shown to give a leagal entity,if the superimposd boundariess are not the same then show it in red and re lot to give a clear picture.

Hello Lalith,

I appreciate your input. Sounds the same...Record verses Measured...show what is found....Where are you from?

Regards, Paul

Hello Keith,

Thank you for your insight. I appreciate your explanation and have always practiced with the importance of "Monuments in the Ground".

Great to have you here, I know we could all benefit from your advice.

Respectfully, Paul

I am from beautiful Sri Lanka

I seem to be in agreement with Deward Karl Bowles.  Lot lines are typically lines plotted on a map.  Property lines are influenced by a variety of factors that include lot splits, boundary line agreements, court rulings, found original monuments, and reasons that do not come to mind at this moment.  Some of the things that might influence property line location may not be readily apparent to the surveyor.  This is just one reason why I would be reluctant to say that I surveyed a property line.

I recall a deed that stated the buyer and the seller would jointly build a "bob war fence" to bound the land described in their deed.  The fence they built only approximated the calls for direction and distance.  But testimony of witnesses revealed that the barbed wire fence extant had been built in a cooperative effort between the buyer and the seller.  It was a boundary called for in the deed and represented the intent of the parties to the deed.  On first inspection I would be very reluctant to call that fence a lot line though it was clearly intended to mark the property line.

I'm afraid that any discussion about these two terms will lead to circular arguments depending on each individual's definitions.  The important thing to remember is that to the public's eye they may have identical or very distinct meanings.  Our most important (most professional) sentences are those we speak to such audiences.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to declare early on which meanings we ascribe to each word thereby eliminating error prone assumptions (ASSUME =  ASS out of yoU and ME).

It is always a good practice with any potential jargon and allows one to profess, which is the core meaning inside the word professional.


Lot line: Boundary (perimeter) line of parcel of land. While Property lines: A property survey is a procedure that defines a parcel of land using distances and angles. From the definition above we can see that both have the same meaning. What's your own view?
I'm not a PLS, but I've been taught that property is the bundle of rights due from ownership. The property line for your land would therefore be what you own and the land you have rights in/of. The key word is own. A surveyor does not determine ownership (or rights), that is for lawyers. Land surveyors would layout the lot line, which may or may not coincide with actual ownership. "I can tell you where the lot line is for a defined piece of land. I cannot tell you that you own that land, nor can I determine how you may use it."

After over 40 years in this business and more than 1 "spirited" debate, I will have to disagree. When you are hired to perform a survey and you prepare a map showing your found/accepted markers and all of your new set markers as required by law here in Florida: YOU ARE DETERMINING OWNERSHIP.

This is the exact argument that Mr. Curtis Brown made for DECADES and then finally reversed himself IN COURT. I do remember just a few years ago that being brought up in one of the PLS professional magazines and I believe his response was that a surveyor does have the right to change his mind when new facts are brought in to bear.

Lets face it...we don't wax surfboards for a living, nor groom dogs or paint houses. When the Public calls us, it is to "mark out their land" from a deed or plat. We load up, go out and INSPECT the property corners and tie in to proper control points. More responsible surveyors pull up ALL of the adjacent deeds, parent tract deeds and read/plot them looking for verbal overlaps, gaps, gores and hiati so as to prevent future color of title problems. Now you go paint up an iron, put it on your drawing, show it to the man....that man is going to use that corner so you HAVE shown him where his property is and he CAN use it. It is our job to "simply" (OMG) execute the deed or plat in the field depending on literally hundreds of differing conditions of local and distant markers and other deeds and plats. There are some days I wish I was a plumber............

If there is some special condition like a fence over on you by 10 feet....you should have already asked questions about it....have some opinion. "Ask the Adverbs" is the way I look at all "Points of Interest" (POI'S). Who built it? What is it? Where is it? Why was it built? and When was it built? If it is a potential problem, put a note with your concerns on your drawing. I will write a novella if required.............with my note that this is to the best of my knowledge and belief with information in my possession AT THIS TIME.

This is what you are paid to do. If you EVER go in front of a Judge or Arbiter (and I have SUCCESSFULLY 6 times since 1992), you are NOT going to have the luxury of saying.."No, I never told this man he owned to this iron" because, uh, YEA YOU DID unless there is a note on your drawing indicating some uncertainty.

Here in Florida we are required to place the deed vs field call on every line/curve and monument all corners. You can call lines whatever you want, but that thick, hard line with all the numbers on it IS the property line when your butt hits the courtroom like it or not.

My main concern when preparing every Boundary Survey that I do is to give my client his DEFENSIBLE BOUNDARY.....the one that (at this time) I have as close to 100% confidence in that I can "win" my argument for it's placement in court hands down. This I ALWAYS monument with irons. IF there are areas that are uncertain outside of that boundary, I will hatch that area and explain my concerns. If you EVER do this, be prepared to have to educate some morons at your local Title Company because they will NOT understand your efforts and will usually want you to remove it so as to "clear underwriting". So then you refuse and have to then explain it to some more morons at the underwriters. Then the client/buyer will get call you being very upset now that 2 different links in the Title process have blamed you for the delay in his closing until you explain to him that this is for his own good. Then the realtor jumps in and makes sure they NEVER use you again because you are one of those "problem" surveyors.........you know the kind......the ones who actually DO THEIR JOB and protect the public no matter what the costs.........

This kind of surveying which inevitably leads property owners to hire Lawyers and then fix these problems is appreciated less and less as the years go by, but it does clear up the problems instead of kicking them under the rug for the next generation. This is the ONLY time that a lawyer has any place in the argument as you can't find a property line from a $3000 leather chair in an air conditioned room across the street from the mayor's office and and down the street from the golf course. Keep up the good fight, peace, out

 my 2 cents......Timothy L. Blackmon, PSM

As yes Florida Surveys if everybody's right how can anyone be wrong??


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