What Stays And What Goes When You Buy A Property?

Is everything you saw when you inspected the property included once you take possession?

Clearly not – some of the items in the property belong to the vendor.

There is a general legal principle that when you buy a property you get transfer of a title and that gives you a right to the land and anything affixed to it.

Obviously this includes a dwelling and this extends to anything that is affixed to the dwelling.
A simple way of looking at it is imagining you took the house and tipped it upside down. Whatever falls out doesn’t stay with the house when you take possession.

In legal terms there are generally two classes of items in a property: goods or chattels and fixtures or fittings.

Fixtures (the bit that doesn’t fall out when you tip it upside down) are part of the property and are sold with the property.

On the other hands goods are movable items which the vendor can take with them at settlement.
But it’s not always this cut and dry.

Say, the vendor bought a new dishwasher only a few months ago; it looks built in, but there really aren’t any screws holding it in place. Does it stay or does it go?

That’s why when you buy (or sell) a property it’s important to complete the section of the contract of sale concerning goods.

This is where you list items which as either staying or going.

Often this section will say the sale includes “all fixed floor covering, light fittings and window furnishing, excluding the garden shed in the back yard”.

If there is any doubt about an item ask the selling agent and ensure it is specified in the contract, as it is the different expectations between the buyer and seller that can cause disputes.

With regards to the dishwasher example, in general if the dishwasher is free standing it is a good, but if it’s mounted under a bench it’s a fixture and stays.