15th December 2021

What do I have to leave when selling a property?

How many family stories start with “when sitting around the table” or “when sitting on the sofa”? Most home memories are engrained into the inanimate objects that decorate our homes.  Indeed, without our possessions, a home is not a home. Is it any wonder that one of the most common questions I am asked, regardless if someone is buying or selling is “what can I take” or “what is being left?

While less sentimental, it is equally important when moving, especially for First Time Buyers, to know what can be expected to be left in the property.  This can allow you to save that extra bit of money to make things a bit easier.  Starting off, it can sometimes seem slightly overwhelming to try and figure out what you have to budget for.  Fortunately, there are ways you can check what will be left to allow you to plan accordingly.

Sales Particulars and Estate Agents

Sometimes, when the purchaser knows they are leaving items, it will be included either in the estate agent’s brochure, or the sales particulars as part of what is included in the price.  This can be helpful when viewing a property as you can physically see what is being left behind, and it may even help decide the price you wish to offer or whether you want to offer on the property at all.

Scottish Standard Clauses

Once you have offered, the Missives (i.e. the contract between the seller and the purchaser) will refer to the Scottish Standard Clauses, in which clause 1 discusses “Fixtures and Fittings” and states that both should be included.  The general rule is that if an item is so integrated into the property that removing it could cause damage then it should not be removed.  Helpfully, an exhaustive list is available in standard clause 1 of items which are to included in the price, including items such as blinds, curtain rails and poles, integrated kitchen units and burglar alarms to name a few. 

If there is a garden, then items such as sheds, rotary clothes driers, and any plants, shrubs or artificial grass should stay, but usually anything potted is classed as a fitting and can be moved.  Wheelie bins should be left, unless they are not ones provided by the council.  

Flexibility – a blessing or curse?

It is important to note that while the list in standard clause 1 is a very helpful guide, it is not a rigid list, and an items inclusion on the list doesn’t guarantee it will be included.  In theory, everything in the house, both fittings and fixtures, are open to negotiation.  While this is a positive from both sides, if there is something that you want, then it is always worth asking the sellers if they will leave it, either for free or for a price.  This can be especially helpful for First Time Buyers who may be looking to save some money where they can.  The reverse can also be true and, as the saying goes, one mans trash is another mans treasure!  Unless agreed otherwise the property should be cleared of moveable items to allow the buyer to move in with all of their belongings.

However, just as buyers can ask sellers to leave specific items, sellers can stipulate that certain items are taken with them.  This can be quite common for items such as TV wall mounts or light fittings.  It is important that you make sure the seller agrees to make good any damage caused by removing the item, and in most cases, replace it with either a standard model or a like for like replacement, again making sure any damage is accounted for.

Finally, it is worth confirming with your solicitor the full list of items to be removed if you are unsure. If any agreement is made which is contrary to the “standard” then make sure it is clearly stated in the Missives – there is no merit in ambiguity!  Moving is already a stressful time, and it is important that you are fully aware of what lies behind that new front door. For help and advice contact a member of the Blackadders Residential Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland.

Duncan Shaw, Trainee Solicitor
Residential Property
Blackadders LLP
@traineeshaw

www.blackadders.co.uk

 

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the author only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

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