Fixtures & Chattels
WHAT STAYS AND WHAT GOES WHEN YOU BUY A PROPERTY?
We have recently purchased a home however, a few years ago we purchased another home in Melbourne through a Melbourne agent and we were most disappointed to find that a number of items had been removed.
How can we ensure this doesn’t happen again?
Unfortunately, the situation you faced is not uncommon.
The issue is whether the items were fixtures or chattels.
A fixture is defined as anything which has become so attached to the land as to become part of it.
A physical object once it becomes a fixture passes with the ownership of the land unless specifically excluded in the contract. If the items removed were chattels that were not physically attached to the land, the vendors had the right to remove them unless they were specifically stated as being included in the contract.
The courts have devised two ways to decide what is a fixture and what isn’t.
Briefly, if a chattel is physically attached to the land then it is a fixture.
If it merely rests on the land by it’s own weight then prima facie it is a chattel.
To settle any dispute the courts look at the type of chattel, the damage caused by its removal, the intention of the person who attached the chattel and the interest in the land of the person who brought the chattel onto the land.
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