Fixtures & Fittings – what stays and what goes?

Whether you are buying or selling a house it is inevitable that you will need to deal with fixtures and fittings. Daniel Thomas from Fine & Country Cardiff gives tips on what goes and what stays when it comes to property.

When it comes to fixtures and fittings, the first thing to do is to understand the difference. As a general rule, fixtures are items that are fixed to the building. They are something that is physically part of the building or the land. They are also items that if removed, would be likely to damage the building. Examples include central-heating boilers and radiators, along with built-in wardrobes and cupboards that use a wall to form one of their sides and would be incomplete if they were removed.

Fittings, on the other hand, are generally items that are not fixed. Imagine turning a house upside down and shaking it – those items that fall out are fittings. The problem is that there is no law that defines what should be included in the sale of a house, so this is where misunderstandings can arise. As a buyer, it is important that you do not make assumptions.

As a seller, to avoid any conflict, be very clear on what items you intend to take with you. While you are not legally obliged to leave any specific items, there is some responsibility to be precise about what you intend to take. It is assumed that unless you state otherwise, fixtures will remain, and fittings will be taken.

An inventory of sale that includes the price of the property, together with a list of what the seller intends to take with them, as well as a fixtures and fittings list included within the legal paperwork should make this clear.

This may seem like common sense, but it is surprising how many buyers have been caught unawares. Sellers have been known to take all the light bulbs and dig up plants from the garden. Because the definitions are vague, it’s difficult to know whether the buyer has a case to take to the small claims tribunal. For example, are garden pavers a fixture or a fitting? Imagine the surprise of a buyer who arrives to find the nicely paved path to the garden shed has been removed, along with the shed itself.

Sellers also need to be aware that if you have a sudden change of heart and decide you really want to take a light fitting that will be ideal in your new abode, this needs to be agreed in writing by both seller and buyer.

What it all boils down to, whether you are a buyer or a seller, is not to make assumptions. The best way to avoid confusion is to ensure expectations on both sides are communicated and documented clearly.

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Fine & Country Cardiff on
07884435320, email:

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