Fixtures

Fixtures are considered real property and are conveyed in a real estate sale. Fixtures are different than personal property such as furniture, rugs, kitchen utensils, pictures and paintings etc. because they are “Affixed” to the property and transfer to the new owner.

Examples of real property:

-Land

Vacant Land

-Buildings

 

-Mineral rights

-Driveways

-Fences

-In-ground swimming pools

-Patios

-Fixtures

 

M-A-R-I-A is an acronym the State of California uses to test whether an item is a fixture or personal property.

 

  • Method of attachment. Is the item permanently affixed to the wall, ceiling or flooring by using nails, glue, cement, pipes, or screws? Would removing the item damage the property?Even if the item is easy to remove, it may still be a fixture. For example, ceiling fans, even though they can easily be removed, are a fixture.
  • Adaptability. If the item becomes an integral part of the home, it cannot be removed. For example, a security system. One could argue that custom designed appliances such as a Miele wine refrigerator can be considered a fixture, although it can be unplugged, because it fits inside a specified space.
  • Relationship of the parties. Buyer to Seller, Landlord to Tenant.

  • Intention of party when the item was attached. When the installation took place, if the intent was to make the item a permanent attachment, for example, a built-in bookcase, the item is a fixture.
  • Agreement between the parties. Section 8 of the Residential Purchase Contract clearly defines items included and excluded in the sale.

 

Paragraph 8 RPA

 

Some common items that get into disputes are:
Wall Mounted Flat Screen TV’s, Curtain Rods and Curtains/Window Treatments, Chandeliers, movie projectors/screens for home theaters.
If the property is tenant occupied and the tenant installed fixtures while in their lease such as Ceiling Fans, Home Security Systems, Dimmer Switches, Water Softener Units, then there can be disputes that arise. Be extra careful when purchasing tenant occupied property to find out who owns what.

 

 

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