What Are Fixtures And Fittings?

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Published: 29th November 2010
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Copyright (c) 2010 Robert Gray

Moving house can be an extremely exciting time but there are lots of issues surrounding the move to take into account such as securing a mortgage, checking out the area, saving a deposit and arranging for a survey to be carried out on the house you are about to purchase.

However, amongst all these 'big' issues it is quite common for people to overlook the issue of fixtures and fittings - specifically, what the vendor will be taking with them when they move out of the property and what they will be leaving behind. This can often be seen as a rather trivial issue which is left until the last minute, however, the importance of agreeing in advance which fixtures and fittings will remain in the property and which will be taken by the vendor, cannot be stressed enough. It can be all too easy to presume that certain items will be left in the property and this can create huge disappointment and inconvenience - not to mention, additional cost - if you then move into the property to find that your presumption was incorrect.

So what exactly are fixtures and fittings?
There is no legal definition of what constitutes fixtures and what constitutes fittings, however, it is generally considered that 'fixtures' are items that are secured or bolted to the walls or floor and 'fittings' are free standing items. Here is a list of some common fixtures and fittings :

Fixtures:

* Light fixtures.
* Central heating systems (inc. radiators).
* Kitchen units.
* Bathroom suites.
* Built in wardrobes.
* Plugs & sockets.

Fittings:

* Paintings, pictures and mirrors (hung to wall).
* Curtains and rails.
* Free standing kitchen appliances (i.e fridge).
* Other free standing furniture (i.e. sofa).
* TV aerials & satellite dishes.
* Carpets & lampshades.

There is a general assumption that, unless otherwise specifically stated, fixtures will remain in the property and fittings will be taken by the vendor. However, usual practice is for an inventory to be drawn up by the vendor clearly stating what they intend to take with them, what they intend to leave at the property and what they are prepared to sell to the buyer (at a price to be negotiated between the parties).

It is a good idea to agree the inventory clearly - including agreement on cost of any items being purchased by the buyer - well in advance of the completion date so that neither party is left in any doubt. If no inventory is in place (and the onus is on the vendor to draw one up) and the vendor takes one or more fixtures from the property, despite the presumption that they will be left, the buyer would be within their rights to take the vendor to the small claims court to claim the cost of having to replace that particular fixture. This is despite the fact that the vendor is not legally required to leave anything in the property.

Although, at the outset, it may seem like the cost of any fixtures and fittings is very small compared to the amount you are about to pay for the property, they do all add up and it is advisable, before making an offer on the property, to find out exactly what is included in the price. As long as the parties enter into open discussions and negotiations, and are clear about what is expected of one another, then any disappointment and additional financial layout can usually be avoided.


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