When it comes to selling your home and moving on, how do you decide what to leave behind? Equally, when you move into a new home – what do you expect the former owners to have left? Nick Salmon, Head of Estate Agency at independent estate agents and valuers, Harrison Murray, explains.
“There is no doubt that the issue of fixtures and fittings can be very contentious, particularly as there is no law that outlines what should be left in or removed from the house once it has been sold.
Legally, the seller isn’t obliged to leave any fixtures or fittings – and some have been known to unscrew all the light bulbs and even dig up plants from the garden prior to their departure.
This may not be illegal, but would probably cause upset to the buyer if they were unaware!
It is really a case of common sense, and we advise sellers to draw up an inventory stating what is included in the price and what they intend to take. Ideally this should be done early on in the sale process.
Without an inventory it is assumed that fixtures will be left but fittings removed unless previously included in the agent’s details.
Conflict between seller and buyer can be avoided by creating an inventory that states exactly what is included in the sale price and what will be removed.
Think about which fixtures and fittings you actually need. There is no point in arguing to keep a particular curtain rail if you are just going to get rid of it later on. Ensure you have everything in writing and agreed – and above all, be friendly. The other party is much more likely to accommodate your wishes if they like you.
The general rule of thumb is that a fixture is understood to be any item that is permanently fixed to the structure of the building and a fitting is an item that is free standing or hung by a nail or a hook.
For example: Fixtures - light fittings, central heating boilers/radiators, kitchen units, bathroom suites, plugs, murals, built-in wardrobes and cupboards
Fittings - carpets, curtains and curtain rails, free-standing ovens, fridges and washing machines, lampshades, bed/sofas and other free standing items of furniture, television aerials and satellite dishes, paintings or mirrors that are not bolted but hung or screwed to a wall.