When you buy a new home, there is no legal obligation for the seller to leave any free-standing appliances behind for you, but integrated appliances should be included. If free-standing appliances are to be included in the sale, then this should be specified in writing by the seller before contracts are exchanged.
You may find that new build properties tend to include free-standing kitchen appliances in the sale, but in older properties the sellers may plan to take their free-standing appliances with them unless otherwise stated. Sometimes a seller might offer to include appliances in the sale for an additional cost, or they may offer to include them for free. The buyer can then decide whether or not to accept this offer.
Fittings and Contents Form
Moving home is an expensive business, so it’s important to know whether you need to budget for the cost of new appliances, or if appliances will already be there waiting for you on moving day. The cost of buying and installing new appliances can quickly run into the thousands, so it’s essential that the sellers and buyers of a property are both completely clear on what will and won’t be left behind.
If you’re selling a property as well as buying, then knowing whether or not appliances will be included in your new home can also help you to decide what you want to take with you and what to leave behind for your buyer.
The Law Society has a ‘Transaction Protocol’ that buyers and sellers of a property should follow. This protocol requires the seller of a property to complete a comprehensive Fittings and Contents Form, which outlines exactly will and won’t be left in the property.
If a seller is planning to leave appliances behind, this should be outlined in the fittings and contents form, which will then be passed to the buyer’s solicitor during the Conveyancing process, before contracts are exchanged. If the seller offers to include appliances for a price the buyer can decide whether or not to agree to this, or negotiate the price as necessary.
If no inventory or fittings and contents form has been provided, then it’s generally assumed that fixtures will be left and fittings will be removed. A fixture is generally any item that is bolted or attached to the house, whereas fittings are generally taken to mean any item that is free-standing or hung by a nail or hook. Fixtures might include radiators, kitchen units and light fittings, while fittings could include paintings, curtains and free-standing appliances.
What if I Don’t Want to Accept the Items Offered?
If a seller has offered to include items, either for free or for a price, you can accept or decline this offer. If you decline the offer then the seller should take the items with them when they leave.
If you arrive in your new home to find that the items that you declined have been left behind, you should speak to your Conveyancing solicitor in the first instance. You are within your rights to ask the seller to remove any unwanted items that they have left behind, or cover the cost of disposal of the items.
If the seller refuses to remove the unwanted appliances, then you may need to arrange the disposal of these yourself. In the worst case scenario, your only option may be to take the seller to Court to recover the costs of disposal. This can be very costly and might end up costing you more in the long-run, so it’s important to consider this before going down this road.
What if the Included Appliances turn out to be Faulty?
If you have bought a new house which included brand new appliances, then the builder of the property may have included a warranty for the appliances in the sale contract. If this is the case then you should be able to arrange repairs or replacements for these.
If the house is not a new-build, then your legal entitlement will depend on the contract wording and terms of the sale – it may be that a warranty for the appliances has been included.
If the house isn’t a new-build and there is no warranty on the appliances, then your legal position will depend on what the seller’s solicitor has confirmed regarding the condition of the appliances. If your Conveyancing Solicitor asked the seller’s Solicitor to confirm that the appliances are in working order, and the seller’s Solicitor has confirmed that they are, then you may be entitled to make a claim for the cost of repairs. However, if the seller’s Solicitor did not state that the appliances were in working order, then you would be liable to cover the cost of the repairs yourself.
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