When any item belonging to the proprietor is attached to the real estate or any part of the real estate is upgraded by the owner, it is known as a fixture. This is called a fixture because the item or the improvement is fixed to the real estate property and eventually turn into its component.
While any item permanently affixed with the real estate property is automatically considered to be a fixture, if a chattel or moveable property belonging to the owner and attached to the real estate property can be considered to be a fixture depends on a number of issues. The things that need to be taken into account in such an instance include the technique of how the item is attached to the property, the objectives of both the parties concerned as well as its significance of the item to the real estate property. In fact, a chattel that has been developed for provisional use or expediency may continue to be with the real estate property as a portable item. Nonetheless, if the chattel was constructed with a view to augment the property and is attached in such a manner, then it may perhaps be considered as a lasting fixture of the real estate. While dealing with chattels, it is essential that real estate practitioners mention without any doubt in the agreements what the item actually is and whether it is being included as a fixture in the contract. The normal practice is to include all fixtures as parts of the real estate property and sold along with it, unless there is any specific mention in the agreement that a particular fixture has been left out as a moveable asset and will not go along with the sale of the property concerned.
In fact, the buyer must also list the items rented by the real estate owner separately and accept that they have been omitted from the cost of the real estate. When any commercial building is given on rent, the tenant is allowed to take away the operating fixtures at the expiry of the lease period and undertake the repair of any physical harm done to the items during the removal process.
It is important to note that these days a lot of real estate salespersons have judiciously discarded the old legal ideas and adopted more feasible way outs. For instance, while dealing with any cottage property it is a common practice to prepare a comprehensive list of items included and excluded from the sale and hence the purchase price of the asset. On the other hand, making discrimination between a chattel and a fixture has a plus point and preparing a detailed lost of all these items helps to steer clear of any misunderstanding between the buyer and the seller at any stage of the deal. At the same time, the feature sheet too underpins the listing method emphasizing all important items that could lead to some kind of misunderstanding or bewilderment either for the seller or buyer of the real estate. Normally, the feature sheet is maintained in a file along with the list of the items and then copies of it are distributed among all parties involved with the real estate transaction.
It may be mentioned here that the conventional method of separating chattels or portable properties and fixtures depending on the extent of their affixation are prevalent till this day, but this is only the beginning of the entire documentation process. It is essential to ensure that the listing of the items is absolute and nothing, particularly the palpable, is left to assumption. While preparing the list of items, you need to enquire about everything that is portable, but fixed to the real estate property - the striking ceiling fans, the built-in bookshelf, the huge carpet, the satellite dish, the workbench in the garage, the decorated sculpture beside the swimming pool, the television antennae and even the solar pool cover. It is advisable that if anyone spends a few extra minutes to carefully identify the chattels and fixtures in a real estate property, it would go a long way in staying away from any possible humiliation and misunderstanding. In addition, undertaking the task will also avoid having a frustrated customer. It must always be borne in mind that chattels and fixtures depend largely on how a person is observing and identifying them. Hence, the best way to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding on chattels and fixtures is to prepared a comprehensive list of all such items and get it ratified by all parties involved in the particular real estate deal.