What you need to know about fixtures and fittings
Disputes between buyers and sellers usually arise over the issue of fixtures and fittings. In most instances, this is due to the disappearance of certain items during the property sale process. With that in mind, what should you leave behind and what can you expect to find when selling or buying a house? As you can imagine the issue pertaining to fixtures and fittings can be extremely contentious. Different buyers and vendors have varying expectations when it comes to this subject matter. Drafting an inventory can aid in averting disputes, disagreements, and conflicts. The inventory will clearly clarify what is included with the price of the property and what will be removed. In the absence of such an inventory, it is generally assumed that fittings will be removed from the house, but fixtures will be left unless stated otherwise. Here is what you need to know about fixtures and fittings.
What are fixtures and fittings?
Unfortunately, there are no set definitions, nor is there any law that specifies what should be left in the house. However, fixtures are generally understood to be any items bolted to the floor and walls. This essentially refers to items that are fixed to the building and that cannot be physically lifted or moved. On the other hand, fittings can be viewed as free-standing items that can easily be lifted or moved.
In principle, the general rule is that when a buyer purchases a property. In addition, the buyer receives the land, the permanent physical buildings, as well as all items that are permanently attached to the building. This includes all fixtures and fittings that are of a permanent nature. Here are the aspects to consider when ascertaining if fixtures and fittings are of a permanent nature:
Firstly, it is essential to ascertain the intended use and purpose of the item when it was attached to the property. In addition, was the fixture attached with the intention of serving the property on a permanent basis. The attachment of the fixture to the property is another important consideration. For example, would removing the item from the property cause any structural damage? Lastly, it is imperative to take the owner’s intentions with regards to attaching the item into account.
- Built-in cupboards and wardrobes
- Bathroom suites
- Kitchen units
- Light fitments, wall sockets and plugs
- Central heating and cooling units
- Free-standing refrigerators, stoves and ovens
- Free-standing washing machines
- Beds and sofas
- Other free-standing items of furniture
What this means
Now bear in mind that a single missing plug is probably something that you would not make a fuss about. However, missing fixtures and fittings can add up into a sizeable amount that could significantly impact the value of the property. Understanding what will be left as well as what will be removed from the property is something the buyer must understand. If the vendor were to remove both fitted and free-standing fixtures and fittings, the monetary value could easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.
As there is no set law to define what should be included in the property sale, the inventory of sale must contain these details. The property price must also reflect the items included with the house. In addition, a list of what the vendor or seller intends to take with them should be included in the inventory of sale. As a buyer, it is vital that you carefully go through the inventory of sale. This will help you to understand what you’re getting yourself into and if you are comfortable with it.