What Are Fixtures In Real Estate?

Definition Of A Fixture In Real Estate A real estate fixture is any object permanently attached to a property by way of bolts, screws, nails, glue, cement or other means. Items like chandeliers, ceiling fans and window treatments are generally seen as fixtures and will stay with the house in a real estate transaction.


What are examples of fixtures in a house?

Example of fixtures include built-in bookcases, drapery rods and ceiling lights. Plumbing, and awnings are considered fixtures. Even landscaping, or any plants with roots in the ground, is considered a fixture. When Becky sold her house, she had to leave behind a chandelier that she loved.

What is considered a fixture in real estate?

If an object is physically and permanently attached or fastened to the property, it’s considered a fixture. This includes items that have been bolted, screwed, nailed, glued or cemented onto the walls, floors, ceilings or any other part of the home.

What is not considered a fixture in real estate?

A fixture, as a legal concept, means any physical property that is permanently attached (fixed) to real property (usually land). Property not affixed to real property is considered chattel property. Fixtures are treated as a part of real property, particularly in the case of a security interest.

What is a fixture in a house sale?

‘Fixtures’ are items that are literally fixed or attached to the property being sold, such as those kitchen units or the sunken bath mentioned earlier.

Is a wall mounted TV considered a fixture?

Simply stated a fixture is something that is physically attached to a part of the home that is supposed to stay with the home after the sale has been completed. When it comes to wall mounted TVs the TV itself is not considered a fixture but the actual wall mount that holds the TV to the wall is considered a fixture.

Are walls considered fixtures?

(M) Method of Attachment – If the item permanently affixed to the ceiling, wall, or floors with screws, nails, cement, or glue, it is considered a fixture. Even if it is easy to remove it, the item still may be considered a fixture.

Are trees considered fixtures?

Plants and trees growing in the ground are considered to be fixtures, which are included in the sale of real estate because they are attached to the ground by roots.

Are plants considered fixtures?

Plants and trees growing in the ground are considered to be fixtures because they are permanently attached to the land by roots.

Are curtains considered fixtures?

Traditionally, curtain rods are considered fixtures because they are anchored to the wall. However, the curtains themselves are usually seen as personal property because they can be slid off the rod.

Is Carpet considered a fixture?

When an item is specially built or installed permanently for use with a property, then it has become a fixture and, hence, part of the real property. Examples include a built-in stereo system, hot water solar heating pipes, wall-to-wall carpet and attic insulation.

Is a ring doorbell considered a fixture?

A typical doorbell is generally considered a fixture. A ring doorbell, being wireless, is one of those items which could be considered either a fixture or personal property.

Is a garage door opener a fixture?

An electric garage door opener. But when it is installed in a home and permanently attached to the garage ceiling, it becomes a fixture and is included in the sale of the home. However, the portable garage door opener control device remains personal property since it is not permanently attached to the structure.

Is a house a fixture?

In general, fixtures include things like the actual house, along with anything that is permanently attached to the house. Basically, if something is kept in place by something other than its own weight, it is probably a fixture.

What is fixtures and fitting?

What are fixtures and fittings and what’s the difference between them? Essentially, fixtures are items in a property that are attached to the building. Fittings, meanwhile, are items that aren’t attached to the property, unless by a screw or nail.

Is washing machine a fixture?

Items like refrigerator or washing machine are not considered a fixture while a dishwasher can likely be considered a fixture.

Fixtures In Real Estate: A Complete Guide

Should it be kept or should it be removed? In any case, whether you’re moving into a new home or out of your old one, you may be wondering which objects should be kept with the house and which ones may be transferred to the prior owner’s new home. The subject of whether to include fixtures or personal property in a real estate sale can be a controversial point of contention among the parties engaged in the transaction. It might even be a deal breaker in some situations. A typical purchase agreement will include a list of the fixtures that are included in the transaction.

It is critical for buyers and sellers to become familiar with the notion of real estate fixtures and understand what they are (and are not) in order to prevent complications that might potentially derail their property sale or purchase.

What Is A Real Estate Fixture?

The inability to determine whether something is a fixture or personal property is a typical topic of contention during house purchase agreements since the distinction is not always evident or intuitive. Fortunately, there are a few widely established rules that professionals use when resolving disagreements. The primary guiding factor in determining whether something is a fixture or not has to do with the way by which it is attached. It is referred to be a fixture when an object is physically and permanently affixed or fastened to a building or structure.

This is illustrated by the use of a window treatment, which is timeless.

For their part, draperies and curtains that are hung on a rod are often recognized as personal property in most jurisdictions.

Unless otherwise specified in the contract, if something may fairly be considered a fixture, you are not permitted to take it with you when you relocate.

Are Fixtures Considered Chattel Property Or Real Property?

The term “chattel” refers to mobile goods, such as furniture, machinery, or even a large trailer. It can refer to any type of personal property, including real estate. Real property is a word that is frequently used to refer to everything that is attached to the property and the surrounding area.

This can include the home itself, as well as outbuildings, ponds, basketball courts, and anything else that couldn’t be readily removed from the land in the first place. In a nutshell, chattels are not fixtures, but real property, as well as everything permanently attached to real property, is.

How To Define And Determine If Something Is A Fixture

It is not always clear whether or not an object would be deemed a fixture, and each state or region may have its own set of rules for what constitutes a fixture. The most important way to tell if something is a fixture is whether or not it is connected to the house. In addition to that, it may become a little murky, however there are still several tests that can be used to establish whether or not an item is a fixture. The most effective strategy to avoid disagreements is to be extremely comprehensive and explicit about what belongs to the house when you are writing your purchase contract.

MARIA And Fixtures

MARIA is an acronym that some real estate professionals use to make it easier to recall the criteria for assessing whether or not an item is a fixture in a property. “M” is an abbreviation for “method of attachment.” When deciding whether or not an object is a fixture, consider the manner in which it is attached to the house. Fixtures are items that are bolted, glued, or otherwise permanently fastened to a building or other structure. The letter “A” stands for “adaptability.” Whether an object has become an integral component of the property, even though it may be easily removed, is the subject of this examination.

  • However, even though this sort of flooring is not attached to the subfloor and instead “floats” on top of it, it is still regarded a vital element of the home and, as such, a fixture in the room where it is installed.
  • In conflicts between sellers and purchasers over fixtures, buyers often have the upper hand.
  • The opposite is true in the case of tenant/landlord fixture disputes, in which it can be inferred that the tenant intended to take any fixtures they had placed themselves with them when they left the premises.
  • Finally, the letter “A” stands for “accord.” This refers to the terms of your contract as they are written.

Examples Of Fixtures In Real Estate

It is beneficial to be aware of which objects are commonly regarded fixtures and which are not. Take a look at the samples below.


Following the sale of a property, the following objects are frequently left behind:

  • Appliances such as washers and dryers, ceiling fans, chandeliers, curtain rods, towel racks, blinds and window coverings, built-in shelves and cabinets Detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide
  • Landscaping (anything that is grown in the ground)
  • And a fire extinguisher


Typically, the following objects will accompany their owners to their new residence:

  • Furniture, refrigerators, rugs, detached bookcases, curtains and drapes, and yard decorations are all available.

Gray Areas For House Fixtures

In spite of all of the guidelines available to assist us in determining whether or not an item is in fact a fixture, disagreements continue to arise – particularly when it is not immediately evident whether an item is personal property or a fixture. Consider the following scenario: you have a lovely garden in your front yard that you have diligently maintained to for many years. You intend to dig it up and bring it with you to your new residence when you relocate. Is it possible for you to accomplish that?

But what happens if you’re a buyer who fell in love with a home because of its beautiful front yard landscaping, which includes a gorgeous row of lush, colorful flower beds – but when you arrive on move-in day, the yard has been completely demolished by digging out the landscaping and the flower beds are nowhere to be found?

Most of the time, it boils down to what was written into the purchase agreement. Clearly communicating what each party wants and ensuring that the parameters of the agreement are incorporated in the contract are the most effective ways to avoid such disagreements in the future.

Fixtures And Final Walkthroughs

Buyers should not make the assumption that anything will be included with the house, especially if it is something that they are very interested in purchasing. Remember to bring up the built-in bookcase during contract talks if you’ve had your eye on it from the initial viewing. Having a written agreement outlining what will remain in the property and what will be removed prior to the final walkthrough may save you a lot of time and aggravation if the seller removes an item that you had intended to keep.

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Ensure that you are clear with prospective purchasers about what is included in the transaction while working with them.

The Bottom Line: Determine Fixtures Early Or Be Disappointed

Disputes over real estate fixtures have the potential to derail a deal altogether, so it’s critical that both the buyer and the seller agree on what will remain and what will be removed before the sale progresses too far in the process. If you believe you have a firm grasp on home furnishings, get your property hunting underway and apply with Rocket Mortgage ® immediately.

What Is Considered a Fixture When Selling a House?

Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. The term “fixture” refers to any personal item that is affixed to or fastened to real estate. In real estate transactions, fixtures are items that are related with the use and/or pleasure of the property; hence, they are transferred from the buyer to the seller during the purchase of a home.

Examine why it is so critical for buyers and sellers to get an agreement on which fixtures should be included in a home acquisition.

Why the fixation on fixtures?

It’s critical to understand what types of personal property are deemed fixtures before purchasing anything. Both buyers and sellers want to avoid disagreements and disappointments about what should be kept in a home and what should be packed up and moved. In most cases, the following fixtures remain in the residence after it has been purchased:

  • Ceiling fans and air conditioning systems
  • Blinds, shades, and curtain rods
  • And other home furnishings Built-inshelving
  • Garage door openers are devices that open and close garage doors. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Smoke detectors

Fixtures, on the other hand, do not have to be restricted to the indoors. A pool cover may be considered a fixture in the sense that it is meant for use with an existing pool and is anticipated to remain in the property even after the original owners have moved out. Other outside fixtures that are anticipated to remain with the residence include trees, perennial shrubs and plants, and other similar items. On the other hand, there are situations when this isn’t the case. To avoid having to leave behind beloved rosebushes, a devoted gardener may remove them during the relocation and replant them at his or her new residence, for example.

Is there one outdoor fixture that a property owner may confidently maintain without debate? Any portion of a vegetable garden that contains crops is considered personal property, including the vegetables themselves.

Who is MARIA?

In order to determine what is a fixture in a property, there is a key acronym to remember (it appears on the real estate agent licensure test). It is called MARIA. Here’s what it represents in full:

M: Method

This refers to the manner in which the personal property was attached to the real estate. It might be as easy as a screw and a screwdriver to complete the task. In reality, if a tool was employed, it is quite likely that the object in issue is a fixture.

A: Adaptability

This meaning refers to an object that has grown so ingrained in the home that removing it would cause significant damage, such as a built-in appliance.

R: Relationship

An element of a real estate transaction, whether it is a property sale or a rental, can be decided by the relationship between the two parties involved in the transaction. When there is a disagreement about whether an object is a fixture, it is normally the buyer who has the upper hand in a sale transaction; but, in a rental lease, it is usually the tenant who has the upper hand in the argument.

I: Intention

What is the goal of making personal goods a permanent feature in the home? In the case of built-in bookshelves in a room or bespoke shelving in a walk-in closet, the installation was intended to be permanent in the space and is therefore called a fixture.

A: Agreement

Last but not least, there must be a shared understanding of what constitutes a fixture for the purposes of a real estate agreement. Buyers can specify which fittings they would want to preserve – or at the very least enquire about keeping – in order to avoid confusion and disappointment later on. Selling a property requires that the seller be transparent about which fixtures will be removed from the home and whether or not they will replace them for the future owner. Until the buyer and seller agree on what constitutes a fixture and it is specified as such in the purchase agreement, all other definitions of fixtures are deemed superfluous and are not taken into consideration.

The bottom line

Even if personal property is designated as a fixture by MARIA rules, it is still a good idea to document the situation. A smoother real estate transaction will result from eliminating confusion and specifically describing fixtures in the purchase contract.

What is a Fixture in Real Estate vs. Personal Property

Interested in learning more about what is considered a standard feature in real estate sales and what isn’t? Some scenarios in a house sale may be extremely irritating for both the buyer and the seller at times, and these situations should be avoided if possible. One potentially unpleasant situation that frequently occurs in real estate transactions is “fixtures” in a property — objects that are regarded to be part of the house and so included in the sale. A seller removing anything from a house that the buyer anticipated to get can cause tremendous friction and animosity, and it may even result in legal action being taken against the seller.

To clarify, chattel is another term for personal property, in case you were wondering.

Any goodRealtorshould be well aware of the issues that might occur during the defining of fixtures in a house and should be prepared to deal with them in a professional manner during the selling process.

Portion of real estate law is defining what constitutes a part of the home and what does not constitute a part of the house in the real estate contract. By include this language in the purchase agreement, the potential buyer and the property owner will be on the same legal page from the start.

Real Estate Agents Confuse Part of The Real Property

Many people are completely unaware of the distinction between what is deemed a fixture and what is considered personal property. In reality, many real estate brokers are to responsible for blurring the distinction between the two by “excluding” items from a listing agreement that do not need to be omitted in the first place! For example, unless a washer and dryer are “built-in,” they do not need to be excluded because they are considered “personal property” rather than being a part of the home itself.

Consumers may become perplexed as a result of the fact that fixtures and personal property are both regarded in the same manner.

When you are finished reading, you will understand exactly what is a standard feature in the real estate sales industry.

What is A Fixture?

A fixture is defined as anything that has been permanently attached to a structure, such as lights, a ceiling fan, decorations, equipment, or appliances, according to the law. Furniture and fixtures are considered to be part of the property, thus it is expected that they will be transferred to the buyer together with the rest of the property. So, for the sake of argument, everything that is permanently affixed or connected is assumed to be a component of the house. Fixtures are items that are nailed, screwed, cemented, glued, or bolted to the walls or ceilings of a building.

  1. They are an integral feature of the house and something you should have anticipated to receive after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on them.
  2. They are considered fixtures, and as a result, are included in the sale.
  3. Light fixtures are another example of fixtures in real estate, as they are in every room.
  4. There are several techniques to examine fixtures in a home in order to ascertain their condition, including the following:

Attachments to The House

Attachments are generally believed to be any piece of furniture that is fastened to the walls, ceiling, or floors via screws (nails, glue, or staples). Even if you have the ability to physically remove an item, it may still be deemed an accessory — for example, bespoke cabinets, built-in speakers, and other such items.

Due to the fact that they are regarded a permanent attachment, the seller is unable to remove them unless expressly permitted to do so in writing.

An Integral Part of The Home

Items such as a refrigerator (if it’s built-in), a cooking range, or a porch swing may also be considered to be part of a home, depending on their placement. All of these objects are considered to be fixtures. It would become critical in the case of a porch swing to consider how the swing is attached. Is the swing simply bolted into the porch, or does it dangle from hooks above the ground? The manner in which something is attached becomes critical in determining whether it is considered part of the real estate or not.

Guidance From The Greater Boston Real Estate Board

Your state’s purchase contract is likely to be quite specific about what constitutes a fixture and what does not. According to Massachusetts law, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board’s standard buy and sell agreement includes provisions addressing what constitutes or does not constitute a fixture. The phrase is quite useful since it clearly specifies to both the buyer and the seller what is and is not included in the purchase price of the property. A specific definition exists for what communicates information and what does not.

“Sold as part of the premises are the buildings, structures, and improvements currently on the property, as well as the fixtures belonging to the SELLER and used in connection therewith, including, if any, all wall-to-wall carpeting, drapery rods, automatic garage door openers, Venetian blinds, window shades, screens, screen doors, storm windows and doors, awnings, shutter, furnaces, heaters, heating equipment, stoves, ranges, oil and gas burners, and other Other states would use identical language in their purchase agreements as well, if they were to do so.

How Personal Property And Fixtures Can Become Confused

It’s not difficult to see how the distinction between a fixture and personal property may become blurred in the future. If a home has an alcove over the stove that contains a high-end microwave, a buyer may believe that the equipment is included with the house, especially if the microwave appears to be in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the kitchen appliances. However, it’s possible that the vendor just purchased the microwave to replace an old one. It is not physically linked to the house, but rather sits in an alcove inside it.

An underground dog fence control box was taken from a property being sold in Southborough, Massachusetts, a few years ago by a seller who was selling the house.

These are the types of things that can add a significant amount of stress to a real estate deal.

When a real estate agent lists an exclusion in the multiple listing service, he or she may then ensure that the things in question are included in the real estate contract.

Any exclusions that need to be addressed in the contract of sale should be communicated to the real estate attorney in charge of the transaction.

Items That Cause The Most Issues When it Comes to Fixtures

If there is any grey area in a real estate transaction, you would assume that the things that create the greatest problems are the ones that have the most grey area. These are the kind of items that might be classified as either real property or personal property, depending on their value. Here are a few illustrations:

  • Window coverings are one of my biggest pet peeves since it appears that so many real estate brokers do not understand what they are all about. A residence does not retain ownership of curtains and draperies, which are considered personal property. Window treatments, such as curtains and blinds, are not removable and consequently remain with the property. As a result, window coverings should not be specified as exclusions in the home sale because they are not regarded a fixture in real estate but rather personal property
  • Due to the fact that some swing sets are simply laying in the grass, a swing set might travel either way. Due to the fact that it is not tied to anything, this would be considered personal property. A swing set that has been permanently installed in the ground, on the other hand, would be considered a fixture or part of the property.
  • In the case of a basketball hoop, the same may be stated about the basketball hoop. Of course, if the hoops are permanently installed in the driveway, they will remain with the home unless they are specifically excluded from the transaction. A free-standing basketball hoop, on the other hand, would be deemed personal property under the law. It is a movable item, like many others, and as such may be moved.
  • A mirror–this should be straightforward, but it is not always the case. If the mirror is fastened to the wall with screws, it will not come off. If it is hung on a hook, it does not remain in the house
  • Otherwise, it does.
  • A wall-mounted television is yet another option that many people find to be a little bit of a grey area. If a flat-screen television is to be brought, the owner should specify that it is not to be brought in order to avoid confusion. Remember that anything that is fastened, screwed, or otherwise attached to a wall is regarded to be a component of the home! This particular television wall mount is being used, rather than the flat-screen television itself, in this instance. The television is regarded as an item of personal property, but the bracket is regarded as a piece of equipment that is permanently linked to the house. When it comes to wall-mounted televisions, a sub-issue that frequently arises is how the holes in the wall that are left behind will be repaired. When purchasing a property, make no assumptions about anything. In order to have the holes filled, this should be discussed in advance and agreed upon in writing by all parties.
  • It’s not that lights are difficult to discern as being in a home
  • Rather, it’s that many homeowners neglect to omit lights they want to take with them when selling their property. Some unscrupulous property owners would remove a light and replace it with another, hoping that the buyer will not notice. Obviously, this is not a smart way to behave oneself in a real estate deal, but it does occur.
  • One of the more fascinating ones is the dog fence, because some vendors believe it is completely fine to remove the unit that powers the subterranean wire in exchange for the fence. The fact that this is something that should be prohibited should be noted.
  • Other things to look at around the yard– Some property purchasers have the assumption that personal belongings in the yard will remain after they purchase a home. Personal property includes things like a seat, a fountain, and a monument, among others. These items would not be able to remain with the house unless they were permanently embedded in the earth. They become a part of the land when they are cemented in, but they do not become a part of the land otherwise.
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Clarifying What is A Fixture in Real Estate

The house listing agent should be particularly diligent in clarifying exactly what is included in the property sale when it comes to identifying what is not included. When the ad is published, it should include a list of all of the fixtures that will not be included in the sale. I’ll say it again: when omitting things from a sale, personal property should not be included since it will cause more uncertainty. When drafting the Offer to Purchase, the same level of care and attention to detail must be exercised.

This information about what is included in the sale and what is not must be made explicit in the offer as it is in the sales contract.

Before advertising a house for sale, it is critical for an agent to discuss with their customers what is a standard in the real estate industry.

What is an Exclusion in Real Estate?

When you seek to remove something from a house that is deemed a fixture, you will be denied your request. Due to the fact that it is a fixture and is presumed to remain with the property, you must omit it from your list of items to take it with you. Exclusions for a property are included in a part of the multiple listing service, and a house seller can request that their real estate agent list them in this area. As a seller, it is critical to consider what you want to exclude from the property in order to prevent misunderstandings with prospective purchasers.

  • Decorative light fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Wall-mounted speakers
  • Ceiling lights
  • A mirror that is affixed to the wall
  • Built-in shelving Landscape plants that are unique
  • An inset for a fireplace

These are all instances of fixtures since they are all actual items that are attached to the structure of the building.

Make Sure You And Your Realtor Are On The Same Page

If you are planning to sell your home, you should make certain that you and your realtor are constantly on the same page about the process. You should receive regular updates from your real estate agent, particularly at the beginning of the transaction, to ensure that you understand what is going on and that your preferences are being respected throughout the process of purchasing a home. What should be included and what should be removed should be discussed prior to the home being advertised and made available to the public.

All of this information may be included in the listing by the realtor.

Over the course of the sales process One of the last situations in which you want to be involved is a situation in which the buyer plans to back out of the house purchase. This is a source of tension that may simply be avoided!

Other Important Clarifications

One of the other major points of disagreement that frequently arises during a house sale is the issue of unnecessary items that the seller deems they should leave behind for the benefit of the potential buyer. Sometimes the consumer appreciates the fact that these items have been left behind, and other times they wish they had been removed entirely. What exactly are the goods I’m referring to?

  • Paint– some purchasers want that all of the paint be left behind so that they can conduct touch-ups, while others don’t care about it and want it removed.
  • Adding an extra tile– once again, sometimes people want the extra tiles to stay, while other times they want to remove what is already there
  • Gardening supplies, insecticides, and other such products are desired by certain purchasers, while they are not desired by others.
  • Wood– Some sellers consider the provision of wood for use in a fireplace or wood stove to be a significant advantage.
  • Other items– anything that may be utilized around the house, such as garden hoses, garbage cans, household cleansers, and so on

The idea here is that you should never take anything for granted when it comes to packing up and departing with belongings. A buyer should always be asked if they want anything that is deemed personal property left behind after the transaction is completed. They must be removed if the buyer does not want them because they are not regarded to be part of the home’s structural integrity. It is only if something is a part of real estate that it is allowed to remain.

Do a Final Walk-Through

In the case of purchasing a property, it is usually essential to conduct a final walk-through. When you do this, one of the key goals is to ensure that everything in the house is exactly as it was when you signed your contract with the seller. While the majority of purchasers are looking for difficulties such as a mover dinging a wall or other potential structural or mechanical problems, it is also important to check what was meant to be included. Over the course of my thirty-four years in the real estate business, there have been a few of instances where something was removed that shouldn’t have been taken.

The buyer, of course, desired them and would not be satisfied with anything the seller substituted in their stead.

Another reason why a final walk-through should never be neglected is because it might save time.

It is critical to understand what is expected to remain in a home and what is considered personal property in order to have a seamless transaction.

Additional Home Selling Articles Worth Reading

  • Some of the most typical reasons why real estate transactions fail are listed below. Do you know what some of the most common causes are for a real estate deal to fail? The Rochester Real Estate Blog has a comprehensive list of the reasons behind this. What to look for during the final walk-through — When it comes to the buy-sell process, the final walk-through is one of the final stages. See Tammy Emineth’s article on Massachusetts Real Estate News for some of the most important topics to be cautious about.
  • Get some of the greatest ideas on how to sell your property fast and for the most money from a variety of real estate bloggers on Sell My Home In Metrowest, Massachusetts.

Make use of these extra resources to assist you in making informed decisions when purchasing or selling a house. a little about the author: What constitutes a fixture in real estate as opposed to personal property was supplied by Bill Gassett, a nationally acknowledged expert in his industry, and is reproduced here with his permission. If you need to reach Bill, you may do so through email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has been assisting clients with their relocations in and out of several Metrowest areas for the past 34 years.

I have a strong interest in real estate and like sharing my marketing knowledge with others.

Summary Title of the Article What is the difference between a fixture in real estate and personal property?

Buyers and sellers are frequently perplexed when it comes to the exclusions and fixtures of a home. Bill Gassett is the author of this work. Publisher’s NameMaximum Exposure in the Real Estate Industry Logo of the publisher

What Is a Fixture? Definition, Types, and Characteristics

Suppose a buyer comes across a beautifully equipped home and falls in love with it. Then it’s time to move in. “Wait a minute, where’s the rest of the set?” Prospective purchasers of a house or property may fail to notice some aspects of the presentation made by the seller. It’s possible that they aren’t even considered fixtures! Sellers may also be perplexed as to what items should be packed as personal property and what items should be sold with the real estate. Having stated that. Here’s a guide to determining what should be kept and what should be removed from a house sale.

What Are Fixtures in Land Law?

The following is a frequently asked question among individuals who study property law or real estate: What is the difference between a Fixture and a Chattel? Fortunately, real estate brokers have a handbook (known as MARIA) that helps them legally discriminate between the two. The subject will be discussed in a moment. A chattel is a term that is used to refer to personal property, whereas a fixture is a phrase that refers to actual property.

  • Personal property is anything that does not include land or an interest in land
  • For example, a car or a house. Real property refers to a broad range of items that include land or an interest in land.

TheSpruce.com is the source of this image. Generally speaking, when people think of real estate, they think of houses. Everything, however, begins with the piece of land itself. The piece of land itself carries with it certain rights that are specific to that plot of land. Those legal rights are passed to them, as well as the charges, according to the common law. This includes any structures constructed on that property as well as enhancements made to the buildings constructed on that land, such as fittings.

What Does Fixture Mean?

A fixture is often defined as an item that is permanently fastened to or attached to land. A kitchen cabinet is a famous illustration of this. A chattel, also known as a non-fixture, is something that can be readily removed from a given place. A free-standing television, or any item that is not affixed to the wall, is an excellent illustration of a chattel. So, when you have a chattel that is tied to the property in some manner, but it’s not apparent whether or not that object becomes a fixture, things become more complicated.

What Is a “Fixture” in Property?

Maybe you’re thinking: “Okay, that’s straightforward. “Real property” is defined as “anything that is connected and immovable.” Not so fast, my friend. There are several grey areas when it comes to defining what individuals believe to be “connected.” An oven is considered real property, whereas a refrigerator that merely plugs into a power outlet is not considered real property. Some sellers are able to remove curtain and light fittings, as well as other attachments, before the sale is finalized.

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When determining whether an object is deemed a fixture in California, the courts utilize the abbreviation M.A.R.I.A.

The acronym MARIA stands for the five tests that are used to identify whether or not an object possesses the qualities of a fixture. It is an abbreviation for:

Method of Attachment

What method is used to connect the object to the house? It is termed a fixture if it is screwed into, glued into, or otherwise permanently affixed to the wall, floor, or ceiling by nails, cement, pipes, or screws, among other methods. That is, even though a light fixture, ceiling fan, or TV mount can be unscrewed, the method of attachment was intended to be permanent, and as a result, the method of attachment might be challenged as being a component of the real estate.


Certain fixtures are referred to as adaptable because they have become a permanent fixture in the house. If a fixture was created expressly for use with a certain property, it is referred to as a fixture in that property. Built-in electronics, floating flooring such as complete carpeting and laminate floor planks, and even the pool cover (since it was designed specifically for the pool!) are examples of such features. It is possible that a seller will get emotionally connected to a single object in his or her home, but that item will already be regarded a fixture owing to its adaptive relevance.

This party has the legal right to seize it as personal property as long as it is replaced with a fixture of the same type as before.

Relationship of the Parties

When there is a disagreement over the sale of real estate and fixtures, the courts normally rule in favor of one or more of the parties concerned. It is frequently noted that, when a buyer and seller are negotiating specific fixtures, the buyer is more likely to be in the better position than the seller. If the dispute is between a tenant and a landlord, the tenant is much than likely to prevail.

Intention of the Party

If the seller intended for the item to become a permanent part of the house when it was first installed, then the item might be regarded a fixture under the terms of the agreement. For example, a built-in bookcase, shrubs, or a mailbox are examples of physical property that has been erected by the owner and is intended to remain in place, whether it is purely aesthetic or provides a functional purpose.

Agreement Between the Parties

This may be the most essential criteria in identifying which existing fixtures are included in the sale of the property or belong to the seller, and it may take precedence over technical definitions of what constitutes a fixture in some cases. The basic guideline is that your purchase contract, which should be reviewed with the real estate agent involved, should include as much detail as possible about the property being purchased.

It is advantageous to have such a thorough contract because if the seller takes a specific fixture listed in the agreement as belonging to a buyer, the deal is terminated and the buyer has the option of not proceeding with the purchase.

What Are Examples of Fixtures?

There are four broad categories of fittings that may be classified as follows: agricultural, domestic, decorative, and trade fixtures.

  1. Agricultural – items that are connected to a piece of furniture for the purpose of farming or gardening Items that a renter attaches to a property in order to make it more livable
  2. Domestic/ornamental items The term trade refers to objects that merchants attach to rented buildings in order to conduct their businesses in those locations.

Listed below is a complete list of some instances of items that are usually referred to as fixtures:

  • Air conditioning systems, bathtubs, blinds and window coverings, and beds that are attached to the wall are all examples of what is included. Cabinets and shelves that are integrated into the design Carpeting, ceiling fans, a clothes line, chandeliers, curtain rods, chimney grates, a doorbell, doors, fences, flooring, a garage door opener, and handrails Systems for heating
  • Fixtures or equipment for lighting
  • Plantings on the ground are referred to as landscaping. Mantels
  • Playground equipment / swing set
  • Playground equipment / swing set Sinks, sprinkler systems, stoves, shelves, smoke detectors, towel racks, wall sconces, washers and dryers, and windows are some of the features included.

What Aren’t Fixtures?

These chattels or non-fixtures, on the other hand, are frequently removed by the owners when they move to their next residence:

  • Furniture, refrigerators, rugs, detached bookshelves, curtains and drapes, and yard/garden decorations are all available.

The image was obtained from lilliestubbs.simplesite.com

The Bottom-line

We hope you were able to understand how to maneuver around the murky regions of the definition of a fixture in this article. Everything in the world of real estate is negotiable. It is preferable to negotiate a purchase contract with your real estate agent in as much detail as possible in order to achieve a smooth and successful transaction. If you have any queries about what is deemed a fixture or what isn’t for your real estate test, please leave a remark below.

Fixture (property law) – Wikipedia

A bathroom sink fixture that is not working properly Any physical thing that is permanently attached (fixed) to real property is referred to as a fixture under legal definition (usually land). Chattel property is defined as property that is not attached to real property. Furniture and fixtures are considered to be real property, particularly in the event of a security interest in real property. When it comes to fixtures, a typical example would be a building. If there is no express language to the contrary in the contract of sale, the building is regarded part of the land itself rather than a distinct piece of property.

  • A fixture is most likely a piece of land; a chattel is most certainly a piece of chattel.
  • The process of attachment transforms chattel property into a fixture in the legal system.
  • Using the same lumber to construct a fence on the land, the lumber becomes an integral part of the real estate itself.
  • This is a difficulty that emerges, for example, in the situation of a mobile house.
  • It is critical to distinguish between property classified as a fixture and property classified as chattel.
  • For example, in the Canadian province of Ontario, mortgages secured by real property must be registered with the county or regional land titles office before they may be enforced.
  • Whether a mobile home is classified as a fixture or chattel has an impact on whether or not a real property mortgage may be obtained on the trailer.

However, there have been instances in which lenders have made loans based on the value of a mobile home that has been placed on the land, only for the trailer to be later removed from the site.

The legislation governing fixtures can also create a slew of issues when dealing with property that is leased.

This is true even though the renter had the legal right to remove the fixture during the period in which the lease was in good standing.

Despite the fact that this is a basic example, there have been instances in which heavy equipment installed into a plant has been considered to have become fixtures despite the fact that it was originally sold as chattels.

In one Canadian instance, a provincial government contended that a massive earth dam was a chattel since it was only kept in place by gravity and not by any other sort of affixation.

The court agreed (the claim was rejected). The seller may not remove or change fixtures that are part of the land while selling it, and the seller may not alter or remove any fixtures that are part of the land before selling it. Fixtures are sometimes referred to as incivil lawasessential elements.

Trade fixtures

Trade fixtures (sometimes known as “chattel fixtures”) are chattels that are put by a tenant on a leased commercial property particularly for the purpose of conducting a trade or business. Trade fixtures are a significant exception to the conventional handling of fixtures. Any of these items may always be removed by the renter, provided that any damage to the structure caused by their removal is reimbursed or rectified. Examples include commercial signs, display counters, store shelves, liquor bars, and machining equipment, all of which are firmly, if not practically permanently, affixed to the structure or to the soil surrounding them.

  1. The economic reasoning for this exclusion for trade fixtures assumes that if renters are unable to remove them, landlords will bear the burden of providing their tenants with the necessary equipment and supplies to conduct their business.
  2. A fixture is a type of real property that must stay with a piece of real estate whether it is sold or when a tenant terminates her lease, despite the fact that the term “fixture” is deceptive.
  3. The landlord is afforded certain protection under the law.
  4. If a trade fixture is not removed by the tenant when the tenant vacates the premises, the trade fixture becomes the landlord’s property through the process of succession.
  5. As a result, they will no longer be considered trade fixtures, but will instead be considered normal fixtures, and therefore real property.

Law in Australia

In the absence of an agreement between the parties, the theory of fixtures, which is governed by legislation, is invoked to resolve disputes about the ownership of tangible property. In order for a chattel to become a fixture, it must be subjected to a variety of circumstances surrounding its annexation to land. This is determined by I the aim of annexation and (ii) the degree of annexation. Semble, it is a mixed matter of fact and law that must be resolved objectively, with the subjective purpose of the parties taken into account.

Intention of annexation

When the use of the chattel is intended, the annexing party’s relationship to the land’s possessor, rather than the agreement between the parties, might be used to determine intent.

Objects brought onto property by renters may become fixtures, and this fact may be a crucial determining factor in choosing whether or not to renew the lease.

Purpose of annexation

Since the case of Palumberi v Palumberi, a greater focus has been placed on the objective of annexation in international law. The facts of each case are unique; nonetheless, a guiding criteria is whether a chattel has been placed with the idea that it would remain in place “permanently or for an indeterminate or significant amount of time,” or whether it has been fixed simply for a specific transitory purpose.: p 712-3

Degree of annexation

When an object is not resting on its own weight, the rebuttable presumption that the chattel is a fixture will be raised, which can be overcome. It is possible for non-affixed things to become fixtures, especially if they will be utilized for an extended length of time. Additional indicators include whether the object can be detached without causing significant damage, whether it was fixed for the purpose of improving the enjoyment of the land or the object itself, the length of time the object has been in use and the function it serves, the function served by its annexation, and whether the cost of renewal would outweigh the value of the property.

Tenant’s rights of removal

At common law, a tenant’s right of removal does not include the removal of agricultural fixtures. According to New South Wales legislation, renters can remove agricultural fixtures in certain circumstances, subject to the landlord’s statutory rights in relation to the agricultural fixtures in question. In the majority of commercial real estate leases, a tenant has the responsibility to return the leasehold improvements to their original condition at the end of the lease period, unless the lease provides otherwise.

See also

  1. “Residential Conveyancing A-Z of Key Terms and Abbreviations” is a comprehensive glossary of key terms and abbreviations used in residential conveyancing. Wilson Browne Solicitors
  2. Bruce Ziff & Associates (2006). Fundamental Principles of Property Law (4th ed.). abNorth Shore Gas Company Limited v Commissioner of Stamp Duties (NSW)HCA 7,(1940) 63 CLR 52,High Court of Australia
  3. AbNorth Shore Gas Company Limited v Commissioner of Stamp Duties (NSW)HCA 7,(1940) 63 CLR 52,High Court of Australia
  4. A Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia
  5. AbcN H Dunn Pty Ltd v LM Ericsson Pty LtdANZ Conv R300
  6. (1979) 2BPR9241 (6 December 1979)Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia
  7. (1979) 2BPR9241 (6 December 1979)Supreme Court of New South The Supreme Court of New South Wales upheld the validity of a milk processing plant in a dairy business in NSWLawRp 124, (1894) 15LR (NSW)464, High Court of Australia
  8. AbAttorney-General (Cth) v R T Co Pty Ltd (No. 2)HCA 29, (1957) 97CLR146, High Court of Australia
  9. AbRe Starline Furniture Pty Ltd (In Liq)6ACLR312 (1 realcommercial.com.au. 1 October 2017
  10. Retrieved 1 October 2017

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