Published: May 8, 2014 • Last updated: June 23, 2022 at 22:11 pm
What should you leave behind when you’re selling a home?
Today’s question came from Jacqueline in Mississauga. She has sold her house and the closing date is May 15 next week. She received a concerned email from her realtor yesterday asking: “where is the television wall mount in the family room?”
These days, many of us have flat screen televisions on the wall – often above a fireplace. We tend to think of the wall mount and the TV as one – since they need each other to co-exist.
But – be aware that the wall mount is considered a fixture of the house! It is attached to the house and to remove it will cause damage.
Jackie admitted there is paint damage and screw holes above her fireplace now. She also argued the wall mount is the same as a picture hanging on the wall – when you remove the picture, there are screw holes and some form of paint damage.
“What’s the difference?” she asked.
What is the difference between a fixture and a chattel?
From the website of Axess Law:
A fixture is an object that has been fastened or otherwise attached to the property in such a way that it becomes part of the property. Clear examples of a fixtures are fireplaces, doors, and counters. It is also possible that something is fixture even if it isn’t attached to the property if it is very heavy and it was intended to become part of the property or benefit it. The other side of this is if the heavy object can be removed without causing damage or requiring alterations to fixtures or the land, it is not a fixture, but a chattel.
The general rule in Ontario is that all fixtures become property of the purchaser and all chattels remain property of the seller. If you want any exceptions to this rule, they should be clearly spelled out in the agreement of purchase and sale. If you have any doubt as to what is a chattel or fixture, or what is included or excluded, ask your realtor or real estate lawyer to be sure.
I once had a client who complained that when she moved into her new house she noticed several shrubs and rose bushes had been dug up and removed. She correctly argued these were fixtures, and the seller had to replace them with comparable plants.
So if you are buying or selling a house, you should pay attention to this – television mounts are not a problem our parents had to worry about back in the day.
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