Are you buying? Have you had the form from your solicitor that asks you to fill out or check the inventory? The issue of fixtures and fittings are at the very least a simple tick box exercise, but at worst they can provoke contentious discourse between the parties involved as there is no law to govern what should be left, and what should be removed.
Different sellers and buyers have different expectations as to what should be left, and it is wise to clarify early on in the proceedings to avoid any last-minute battles. Legally, the vendor is under no obligation to leave any fixtures or fittings, but if an inventory is not formed it is generally assumed that fittings will be removed and the fixtures will be left. If a fixture is removed, the seller can find themselves in a small claims court and be forced to pay the cost of a replacement fixture.
What are fixtures and fittings?
A fixture is generally understood to be anything that is screwed or secured to the floor or walls, and a fitting anything that is attached by nail or hook, or is freestanding.
Examples of fixtures include light fittings, central heating boilers and radiators, bathroom suites and kitchen units.
Examples of fittings include curtains, carpets, free-standing ovens, refrigerators and washing machines.
It is well worth making sure that you know exactly what is being left to avoid any nasty surprises once you have exchanged contracts. Getting the most from the vendors often comes down to your negotiation skills.
- Try to negotiate face to face – you will learn a lot by the non-verbal communication from the seller, and avoid legal costs of solicitor letters to iron out comparatively minor points.
- Remember to stay calm and polite during discussions about fixtures and fittings; sales often fall through over conflicts about what is to be left, and what is not.
- Be The other party is more likely to accommodate your wishes if they have a rapport with you.
- Think about the fixtures and fittings you actually There is no need to argue to keep the carpets when you can get cheap carpets from online stores such as Big Warehouse Sale, that will cost less than the legal fees needed to argue your point. Therefore, make sure to search for cheap carpets online instead of in brick-and-mortar stores where the price can be higher; still save money, time, and headaches for both parties.
- Once agreements have been made, write them down and if possible, get the vendor to sign them to avoid possible future contentions.
If possible, check the property thoroughly before the exchange of contracts and if you can, spend the day before completion to ensure that everything is as agreed with regards to fixtures and fittings. This will give you an opportunity to delay completing until the property is in the condition that you saw when you initially made an offer.
If things are not as they were, and you have exchanged, you may be able to write to the seller’s legal advisor with invoices for any costs incurred although this is not terribly successful as they are unlikely to be motivated to chase as it will be outside of their terms of work. You then have the option of pursuing the vendor through the small claims court, although, unless the amount is over £5,000, it is not considered worth the hassle.