What is a fixture?
Fixture refers to any personal property that is attached to a real property and is regarded as immovable, as long as its removal would damage the real property to which it is attached..
How to determine if something is a fixture?
Determining whether a certain object is classified as a fixture is important because in the case of a sale or mortgage, movable property (called chattel) will not, unless specified otherwise by the contract, be included in the price of the valuation of the property.
As an example, let’s consider the owner of a manufacturing plant trying to sell his property. The sale contract will state the transfer of title for the building, but how would it define the other objects within the property? Usually, machinery will fall in the category of chattel, since it generally can be moved without causing damage to the property. However, if the office space within the building has wall to wall carpeting, that would be considered a fixture.
What are fixture identification guidelines?
These include, but are not limited to:
– Method of attachment – this comprises objects attached by means of bolts, cement, nails, pipes. For example, blinds or curtain rods are fixtures, but curtains or drapes that can be easily removed would be considered chattel.
– Adaptability – if an object becomes an integral part of a building, it is a fixture and cannot be removed. For instance, decorative wood paneling on the walls.
– Intention – if the object was introduced to the building with the express intention of making it a permanent attachment, such as an in-built cabinet.
– Relationship between parties – in a dispute between a buyer or a seller regarding what is a fixture of the property and what is not, the buyer is likely to be at an advantage. Similarly, in the case of a conflict between a tenant and a landlord, the tenant’s point of view will likely prevail.
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