What is Included in the Sale of a House?
When you buy a new home, the seller is under no legal obligation to leave any contents behind for you, nor are they legally obliged to take anything with them.
Many home buyers can assume that the seller will leave certain things and take others, but when it comes to buying a house it’s very important to write everything down into a contract.
It is advisable that you should agree with the seller on what fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale of the property, and what will be left behind; well in advance of the completion date of the sale.
For initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors.
What are Fixtures and Fittings?
This can be a bit of a grey area, but there are some general rules that apply when we look at what is classed as fixtures and fittings. Some items, such as integrated appliances or fitted furniture will need to be left, but often these can be used as a bargaining tool or thrown in with the selling price of the property.
Whatever is included should be made clear in an inventory of sale, see TA10 form below.
Fixtures are items which are fixed to the building, so they shouldn’t be removed. It's physically part of the building itself or part of the land on which the building sits.
Some examples of fixtures are:
- Security/alarm systems
- Central-heating boilers and radiators
- Fitted furniture
- Kitchen units
A fitting is a free-standing item which can be easily removed from the property, such as a fridge or a set of curtains.
Some examples of fittings are:
- Freestanding appliances
- Standalone wall cabinets and freestanding furniture
- Lamps and lampshades
What Does the Law Say?
It sounds surprising, but fixtures and fittings left behind after a house sale can be very contentious because legally, there is nothing to say what the seller should leave behind and what they should take.
Legally, the seller is not obliged to leave any furniture or any specific items behind. They do, however, have a responsibility to create an inventory to help explain what will and won’t be left behind when they move house.
It is usually assumed that fittings will be taken and fixtures will be left behind.
The Fittings and Contents Form
The TA10 form, also known as the Fixtures and Contents Form, clearly identifies what is and what is not included in the sale of a property. It is the responsibility of the seller to complete this.
The TA10 form is not a compulsory document, but it is advisable to fill one out to avoid any unnecessary disputes during the sale.
Our Conveyancing Solicitors are more than happy to help you with the TA10 form if you are unsure of what items you need to list on it.
What to Include on TA10 Form
The TA10 form is divided up into sections where you can list all the items you would usually find in a home. You can tick which items are freestanding, and which are fitted and whether it is included or excluded from the sale.
The form will typically cover:
- Basic Fittings
- Curtains and curtain rails
- Light fittings
- Fitted units
- Stock of fuel
- Television and Telephone
- Other items
How a TA10 Form Works
The TA10 form should list every fixture and fitting that is included in the sale of the property and is a legally binding document. If any items are taken, that should have been left at the property, then the seller will be in breach of contract.
If you find that some items have indeed been taken, or items have been left which were not stated on the form, then you should contact your Conveyancer immediately.
If we are acting on your behalf, we can contact the sellers Conveyancer and attempt to have the items returned, or removed. Any failure to comply with this request could mean legal action against the seller.
How Simpson Millar Can Help You
Buying or selling a house can be a tricky, costly and time-consuming exercise. With our national team of Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors on board, you can avoid many of the pitfalls, especially those surrounding fittings and contents.
We can liaise with the seller’s Solicitor and deal with estate agents on your behalf.
We’ll take a professional approach and guide you through each step of the way, giving you the confidence that your sale or purchase will run smoothly, with no hiccups along the way.
Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.