The difference between fixtures and fittings (chattels)

Sometimes it’s the simple things that cause the most confusion and we understand that not everything in the conveyancing world is black and white. Therefore, we hope this guide helps to differentiate between what exactly are fixtures and fittings when you, the vendor, have to fill out this particular form with all the initial paperwork required at the beginning of the conveyancing process.

Firstly, you may be wondering why fittings are also referred to as chattels. The reason fittings are often referred to as chattels is because the term fitting has no meaning in a legal context. However, unless you’re a legal expert chattel isn’t a widely known term in the real world, therefore ‘fitting’ is more understandable to customers.

The importance of the ‘fixtures and fittings form’ is to make it clear to the buyer what is and isn’t included in the sale of the property. So, what are the differences between fixtures and fittings (chattels)?

Fittings are items that aren’t attached to a property (unless by a nail or screw) and can be removed. These aren’t usually passed on to the buyer unless it is agreed with the vendor. Fixtures are items that form part of the property or the land that cannot be removed and therefore, are part of the property purchase (if confirmed by the seller).

Here are some examples of what could be classed as a fixture or a fitting.

FixturesFittings
Electric sockets Carpets
Light fixtures Curtains and curtain poles 
Security alarm systems Blinds
Television aerials and satellite dishes Paintings and/or mirrors
Fires and fire surrounds Ovens
Central-heating boilers and radiators Refrigerators / Freezers
Plumbing installations Washing machines and dryers
Fixed furniture e.g. kitchen units Beds/sofas and other free-standing furniture
Built-in wardrobesLamps and lampshades
Cupboards or shelf units

The reason this form is so important is that it’s not always clear cut from viewing a property what is/isn’t included as part of the purchase. It’s important to make it understood what you, the seller, will take and what will be left behind for the buyer to avoid any disputes.

Buyers often assume certain items will be included in the property purchase but in the house-buying world, you should never make assumptions. Unless it’s stated on the fixtures and fittings form (TA10) then it’s a grey area. To avoid costly court fees, as the vendor, we’d urge you to make it black and white to your buyer and that they agree before the property transaction is completed.

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