When you decide to buy or sell a house, there are many things that you need to give careful consideration to in advance. One of the questions that I am frequently asked by my clients, is whether the seller has a right to take the curtains or cooker with them when they leave. Items like these can become the subject of substantial debate between buyers and sellers. Should they stay or should they go?
As a seller, you will probably have to leave certain beloved possessions behind. This could include the newly fitted kitchen you worked so hard to design exactly to your specification or the showpiece sunken bath in the master bathroom which has helped transform that part of the house into your own idyllic sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of family life. As we all know, life isn’t always straightforward.
So, ‘Fixtures’ or ‘Fittings’, what is the difference?
As lawyers, we are required to ask a seller to complete a list of fixtures and fittings and this list forms an important part of the contract for sale.
‘Fixtures’ are items that are literally fixed or attached to the property being sold, such as those kitchen units or the sunken bath mentioned earlier. In most circumstances, these have to remain.
‘Fittings’, however, are items that are fixed, but by their nature they can easily be removed without any real damage to the property. Pictures, bookshelves and curtains would all be good examples.
This is why the fixtures and fittings form must be completed with accuracy, care and a great deal of thought, as any disagreements will need to be ironed out throughout the course of the conveyancing process and certainly before contracts are exchanged.
So it’s really quite clear cut then?
Not always. Even after 35 years, I still find it fascinating to see how the debate over fixtures and fittings can evolve and not everything is as clear cut as you might think. For example, a seller could be justified in removing a freestanding electric double oven with integrated hob that slots in and out of the kitchen space easily. But what about a more permanent cooking feature, such as an AGA, which a buyer is probably paying a premium for as part of the purchase price? It is really important that buyers proceed with caution and try, as far as possible, to ensure that everything they expect to get as part of the purchase of the property will be left behind on completion day.
Contact Debbie directly:
If you, or someone you know, is considering moving house, why not contact Debbie for expert advice on 01483 887775 or at email@example.com.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.