What is a legal description?

Parcels each contain a legal description, which is a recorded description of where the property is legally located. Parcels can be either platted or un-platted.

  • Platted - A plat is a recorded survey by which parcel boundaries are identified initially by the plat name and by further definition of one of the following: a lot/block combination, tract, unit number, outlot, park, or some form of right of way. When a plat arrives at the county for recording, an underlying parcel that is identified on the plat may be subdivided into many parcels of land. Each new parcel created will be given the name of the plat and a legal description of the portion of the plat by which it is identified. All property taxes, current and delinquent, must be paid on the underlying parcel(s) that are either entirely or partially included in the plat. A certification on the plat requires the signatures from the county auditor-treasurer that taxes have been paid in full.
  • Un-platted – These parcels are identified by the section, township and range in which they are located. Additionally, parcels are defined by quarter-quarters or Government lots. Descriptions of these types can be quite lengthy as added language can define parcels to smaller areas within quarter-quarter regions. In many instances, there is added language to further define the property by feet, links, chains and other types of surveying tools. These forms of legal descriptions are labeled as metes and bounds descriptions.

Once a document is recorded in Isanti County, the legal description that is assigned to the parcel will be used on future assessment and tax rolls. It will be reflected on the many notices sent to owners and taxpayers throughout the year.

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1. What is a legal description?