So you’re a new homeowner, congratulations! But the seller recently moved out and took some appliances with them. You might be wondering: are they allowed to do that? What should you do?
Maybe you were expecting certain items to be in the house or were surprised some appliances were left behind. Well, It entirely depends on what type of appliance it is and what was stipulated within the agreement between you and the seller.
Today we’re going to discuss what chattels are, what fixtures are, and generally, what you should do depending on the type of appliance it is.
Related: My seller won’t close - now what?
What are Chattels?
Typically, Chattels are items that can be easily moved without damage to the property. They are usually considered accessories to the house. Insofar as the item isn’t integral to the structure of the property, they usually fall under the ownership of the seller.
In most purchase of sale agreements, it is expected that all chattels that are expected to be part of the transaction gets explicitly listed within the agreement of purchase and sale as “chattels included”. If a chattel is not listed, the expectation is the seller will take the chattels with them.
You may also want to be specific about the chattels you would like included, such as listing the make, model, or even condition of the chattel. For example, instead of just including the term “microwave’, you could be specific to say “Samsung MP2000 microwave in good working condition”.
Having a specific and comprehensive list of chattels that are to be included holds the seller accountable to the performance in the contract and can avoid post-closing issues such as missing chattels, appliances being swapped for other models, or chattels that are not in the same working order as they have been when you first contracted to buy the property.
Post closing, if you notice that a chattel is missing or is not the same one as in your agreement, your best bet would be to immediately inform your Real Estate Lawyer.
What are Fixtures?
In most instances, fixtures are appliances that cannot be easily moved and would likely cause damage to the property if moved. These can be categorized as appliances that have some built-in component to the property, usually, requiring access to power or a water source. An example of such appliances might include a built-in oven or a hot tub.
When it comes to appliances that can be categorized as fixtures, the seller expects to leave the fixtures in place unless stated otherwise in the purchase of sale agreement.
The general rule is:
if it’s easy to move, then the seller has ownership over the appliances. If it’s difficult to move, and would cause damage to the property, the buyer has ownership over the appliances. However, there are always grey areas to the definition because difficultly to move anything (including a large hot tub), can always be subjective.
What should I do?
Ultimately, even if you think you’re sure on what appliances belong to the buyer and which belong to the seller, you should be specific in you Agreement of Purchase and Sale as to what you expect to be included. Even if in your mind, the appliance is clearly a fixture, it can’t hurt to be clear and get it in writing.
Your Real Estate Lawyer will be able to walk you through the purchase of sale agreement and highlight what appliances you have a right to as a buyer. Proper legal representation will also give you actionable next steps if you need to recover appliances that should have been your property.