What is the difference between a fixture and a fitting?
Fixtures: Items which are “fixed” to the property. This may include doors, appliances (integrated), carpets and the bathroom suite.
Fittings: Items which are not attached to the property, including anything attached by a nail or screw. This may include personal belongings, furniture, blinds and curtains, appliances (freestanding) and kitchenware.
The Rules Surrounding Fixtures & Fittings
There is no specific legislation which states what should be taken and what should be left in a property when selling. Fixtures are generally assumed to be included in the property unless the Seller has stated otherwise. Fittings however are generally assumed not to be included in the property, unless the Seller has agreed to leave them behind.
There is a grey area surrounding light fittings. Whilst light fittings are classified as fixtures, the Seller can opt to take light fittings out after completion. If they choose to do so however, they are legally obliged to replace them.
If the Seller chooses to remove items without notifying the Buyer, the Buyer can choose to take the Seller to the Small Claims Court.
The Importance of Fixtures & Fittings
Fixtures and fittings can play a substantial role in the value of a property. Whilst items such as a radiator will not make much difference, some fixtures and fitting may make a significant impact. It is vital that Sellers explain what fixtures and fittings they intend on leaving so that the Buyer understands what they are paying for to avoid confusion, withdrawal from the sale and even future legal proceedings.
It is important that the Buyer and Seller, or their legal representatives, discuss the fixtures and fittings within the property. It should be determined whether the items are included within the property price or not. A Contract can be drawn up which states which fixtures are going to be removed, which fittings will remain in the property and the price of such items (if applicable). Such Contracts can also act as a warranty. Buyers and sellers may have different views and expectations as to what they consider to be a fixture or a fitting, in such instances, Contracts can be very helpful in preventing misunderstandings.
How Hodgkinsons Property Lawyers Can Help
Unfortunately, when buying a property many people often arrive at their new home and discover that fixtures and fittings, which they expected to be there, are not. To help to prevent Buyers from experiencing this, our Conveyancers will always request that Sellers complete a ‘Fittings and Contents Form’, much like an inventory form, to confirm the items which they will be leaving in the property. The form addresses all aspects of the house from basic fittings to the outdoor area. This allows transparency between both parties, allowing the Buyer to prepare accordingly for their move. It is vital that the form is filled out as soon as possible to avoid incurring any unnecessary delays in the transaction.
At Hodgkinsons our Property Team will always aim to prevent disputes arising from fixtures and fittings as they can cause considerable delays to the conveyancing process. Our Team will always aim to complete your transaction as efficiently as possible so that you can enjoy your new home. If you are selling, and you are unsure of the distinction between fixtures and fittings, our Team will be happy to help you.
The Residential Property Lawyers here at Hodgkinsons Solicitors, Skegness, are experts in handling property transactions of all kinds. If you are looking to buy or sell, whether you are located in the East Midlands or rural Lincolnshire to include Skegness, Louth, Boston, Grimsby and Lincoln, our Lawyers can help you. To get in touch submit a contact form to request a call back or call us on 01754 897150.