The im­por­tance of fit­tings clar­i­fi­ca­tion

Whitsunday Times - - DOMAIN -

THE Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of Queens­land (REIQ) rec­om­mends that people clar­ify the sta­tus of a fea­ture or item by ask­ing the agent whether it is in­cluded in the sale of a property.

Un­for­tu­nately, some­times a buyer moves into their new home and finds the fea­tures that ‘sold’ the home are gone.

When they query the miss­ing items with the real es­tate agent, the proud new home­owner finds that the fea­ture was a ‘fit­ting’ and not ac­tu­ally listed on the con­tract as part of the sale.

Fix­tures and fit­tings (or chat­tels) are some­times the source of post-sale dis­putes, mar­ring what would other­wise have been a smooth, has­sle-free trans­ac­tion.

REIQ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dan Molloy said that fix­tures are de­fined as “any­thing on the property that is ‘screwed in’, ‘glued in’, ‘nailed in’, ‘bolted in’ or ‘plumbed in’ to the struc­tures on the property.”

“Free­stand­ing mov­able items are called chat­tels – they can be in­cluded with the sale of the property but must be noted on the con­tract,” Mr Molloy said.

“Typ­i­cal fix­tures in­clude stoves, hot wa­ter sys­tems, fixed car­pets, clothes lines, satel­lite dishes, TV an­ten­nae, in-ground plants, ceil­ing fans, mail boxes, se­cu­rity doors, built-in book­shelves and built-in air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tems.

“Pool and spa equip­ment, pot­ted plants, wash­ing ma­chines, ride-on mow­ers and large gar­den tools are good ex­am­ples of chat­tels.”

The REIQ says that items such as bar­be­cue hot­plates, sprin­kler sys­tems, cur­tain rods, gas bot­tles, dish­wash­ers and light fit­tings of­ten cause de­bate and are grouped in a ‘grey zone’ that should be clar­i­fied with the sell­ing agent.

Home sell­ers wish­ing to take a par­tic­u­lar item with them, such as a dish­washer, should spec­ify these items with their agent and on the con­tract.

While no one ex­pects to find a bar­be­cue hot­plate gone when tak­ing pos­ses­sion of a new home, un­der com­mon law it is not de­fined as a fix­ture be­cause it is not phys­i­cally fixed to the property.

The REIQ sug­gests the most im­por­tant thing for all par­ties to re­mem­ber is to be up­front and to com­mu­ni­cate any doubts.

A REIQ ac­cred­ited agency should be able to an­tic­i­pate any ‘grey’ ar­eas and ask the seller to spec­ify what they want to take with them. It’s up to the seller to tell the agent (and there­fore the buyer) what it is they want to keep. Those in­clu­sions can then be noted in the con­tract of sale mak­ing it legally bind­ing and over­rid­ing any com­mon law ar­gu­ment.

When pur­chas­ing a home, buy­ers need to be aware that, as stated in the con­tract, they have the right to a fi­nal in­spec­tion the day be­fore the set­tle­ment date. If some­thing they thought should be with the property is not, they have the right to raise the mat­ter with the seller and de­lay set­tle­ment un­til the dis­pute is re­solved.

It is too late for buy­ers to raise the is­sue with the agent af­ter set­tle­ment day. At the point where the buyer has moved in and has taken pos­ses­sion, and a dis­pute arises, it then be­comes a mat­ter be­tween their re­spec­tive so­lic­i­tors.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.