Real Property Description: Specific Controls Over General

The recent case of Stribling et al v Millican Partners, LP from the Texas Supreme Court holds that a metes and bounds description will prevail over a more general description in the same conveyance. In a dispute between adjoining landowners the court held that in a case of a conflict, the more specific provisions will control over the more general expressions which are worded as being applicable to the same land. When the specific is clear, there is no necessity for invoking the aid of the general description. There is no need to look to what the parties intended as a metes and bounds description would control.

I’ve seen real property cases where parties will attempt to create a “general location of property” and then move their boundary lines over time, move their fence lines, moving plants in common areas in attempt to possess the real property.

Be careful with cellular tower companies who are in need of additional space and attempt to move their boundary lines trying to use additional space. They have a tendency to sublease and assign these leases to other entities without notifying the landlord of their activities. They will try to find property to tie down the owner to a certain fixed sum by claiming a “general location” of the lease premises and then add a clause to survey the property later. The problem is that they could survey the property according to their wishes and never let the landlord know of the survey and then proceed to obtain permits with the city based on their erroneous surveys.