Last Updated on March 28, 2024

What is a Short Legal Description (Short Legal)? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

What is a Short Legal Description?

A short legal description or simply short legal is a way of identifying a property with a short code. It is the shorter version of the legal land description, or long legal description.

Real Estate Agent Explains Short Legal Descriptions

Short legal descriptions are in the format: plan, block lot with semi-colons dividing the numbers. For example:

A long legal description looks like this: Plan 12345A, Block 8, Lot 35

The same description in a short legal format would look like this: 12345A;8;35

Some parcels of land occupy an entire block. In that case, they will have no lot number because they take up the entire block themselves. Commercial and industrial areas are often like this. In that case, the short legal would be missing the last section and may look something like this:

Short legal description where a block is all one lot: 1234P;W

It should be noted that there are no set rules on how many letter or numbers are used in legal descriptions. Some lots may have two digits, and some may have one digit. Plan numbers can be of varying lengths as well and they often contain numbers and letters.

Here is where you would find a short legal description on an example of an Alberta Land Title Certificate:

Sample land title with short legal description location and format
Sample land title with short legal description location and format

Learn more in How To Find The Legal Description Of A Property

The Edmonton Real Estate Board uses long legal descriptions on real estate listings to describe properties.

Why Does It Matter?

Short legal descriptions are the same as long legal descriptions, but in a more concise format. Legal descriptions are important in determining whether the correct property is being referred to on a contract or for searching land titles on the Alberta Land Titles database.

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