An important but often neglected part of a Sale and Purchase Agreement is the chattels list.
A chattel is any moveable item that is not permanently attached to the land or building (not a fixture). There is a small box on the second to last page of the Sale and Purchase Agreement that comes preprinted with the basic items that stay with the property. These include the floor coverings, window coverings, light fittings and stove. Any additional items which a purchaser expects to come with the property need to be added to this list. If it is not on the chattels list the Vendor is within their rights to take it with them. Items such as garden sheds, dishwashers, waste disposal units, heat pumps, range hoods, heated towel rails and alarm systems are often forgotten and I regularly receive distressed calls from purchasers doing their final pre-purchase inspection and discovering the vendor has taken these.
I have also come across several cases of Vendors removing chattels such as light fittings and curtains and replacing them with a cheaper versions prior to settlement. They are not legally allowed to do this as the purchaser buys the property in the condition it was in and with the chattels that were present at the time they signed the Sale and Purchase Agreement, but it is sometimes difficult for the purchaser to prove or even remember what existed at that time.
Tips for ensuring you get the chattels you were expecting:
- Go through the property carefully and discuss with the agent or Vendor what items stay with the property and list these on the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
- Take pictures of the property (with your phone or digital camera) at the time you sign the Sale and Purchase agreement so that you have proof at a later date should anything be changed or removed by the Vendors.