Understanding conveyancing terminology: what are “fixtures and fittings”?

Continuing our series of understanding conveyancing terminology, we look at what fixtures and fittings are and the key differences between them.

Fixtures are defined as “forming part of the land” and therefore, as a buyer, you would expect to take over ownership of these items when purchasing a property. In many ways, this makes perfect practical sense.

On the other hand, fittings (also known as chattels) are not part of the land and therefore when purchasing a property these are not automatically “up for grabs”. The price of these fittings can be negotiated at any point during the conveyancing transaction, all the way up to the point of exchange of contracts. Often, they are decided at the outset but that does not have to be the case.

Sellers are required to fill out a rather long and laborious form called the “Fittings and Contents Form” which asks the seller to state what is and is not available to the purchaser by way of items in the property, and the price of such items (if applicable).

Generally speaking, we find that the negotiations regarding fittings are straightforward and rarely will sellers get caught up in the detail; most sellers acknowledge that getting rid or moving all of the property’s contents can be extremely time consuming and expensive. This may all be for the sake of a small amount of extra money, especially when compared to the sale price.

There is, of course, plenty of legal case law surrounding what can and cannot be considered a fixture or fitting but this rarely plays a role in most conveyancing transactions.

Of practical significance, however, is the need for your conveyancer to be given the details of what is and is not to be included within the purchase/sale of a property as soon as possible, so that the necessary enquiries can be made. It is essential that this information is clarified in the contract. Filling out the Fittings and Contents form accurately and completely is an essential part of this.

A final, and niche point, is that Stamp Duty Land Tax is not payable on fittings which means that an apportionment of the purchase price may be required.

For more information about the conveyancing process, please see further newsletter articles.

If you are thinking of buying, selling or remortgaging a property, please get in touch with us on 0118 958 9711 here in Reading.

Further Reading:

Understanding conveyancing terminology: what is “completion”?

The Conveyancing Process: Searches

Bank of Mum and Dad in Conveyancing Transactions

The Conveyancing Process for Buyers

Property Conveyancing

 

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