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LAND VACANCY. A land vacancy is unconveyed or unpatented land lying between two surveys and not covered by any deed or description. These unowned plots of land, ranging in size from less than an acre to several hundred acres, formerly occurred widely over Texas, particularly in the older, unsectioned areas, and in 1940 were estimated to amount to as much as 5 percent of the total area of the state. Such vacancies arose because of inaccurate surveying in making original grants and titles. The amount and location of vacancies are unknown, but when any vacancy is discovered it is subject to purchase by any citizen. As the statute of limitations does not operate against the state, the state retains the ownership of undiscovered vacancies and will lease or convey a title to a discovered vacancy under provisions of an act of the Forty-sixth Legislature, June 19, 1939, directed against vacancy seizure by land grabbers.


Lewis H. Haney, ed., Studies in the Land Problem in Texas (University of Texas Bulletin No. 39, Austin, 1915). Jack Sparks, "Vacancy Application Procedure," in Report of the Second Texas Surveyors' Short Course (Austin: Board of Examiners of Land Surveyors et al., ca. 1942). Texas Legislature, House Journal, 46th Leg., reg. sess., 1939.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"LAND VACANCY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.