What can you expect to find in your new home?
With the Berwickshire News reporting that a dispute (see article here) surrounding the alleged removal of valuable fittings from Ayton Castle is set to be heard in the Court of Session in Edinburgh our Ricky Hope looks at what is typically included in the sale of a home in Scotland.
We’ve seen various items having been incorrectly removed from properties over the years; the strangest perhaps being the front door! Similarly we’ve seen items having been left in a property when they should have been removed; the award for the ‘strangest’ item left falls to the Seller of a house who mistakenly left their dog in the garden.
Most residential transactions in Scotland are based upon the Scottish Standard Clauses.
Unlike in England an inventory of the contents of the property is typically not prepared. Instead Clause 1 of the Scottish Standard Clauses lists the fixtures, fittings and contents of the property that are to be included at the Date of Entry.
The basic rule of thumb tends to be that if you need a screw driver to remove an item then it should stay in the property. Curtain poles are included whereas curtains themselves are not. Blinds are included which makes sense when you consider that they will be made to fit the specific windows of the property being sold and will be of little use elsewhere; the same can be said of the carpets and floorcoverings.
If a kitchen appliance is integrated into the kitchen or concealed behind a kitchen unit door then it should remain in the property; if such an appliance is freestanding then it the seller is free to remove the same form the property and is indeed obliged to do so.
Any moveable items that are not specified at Clause 1 are to be removed from the property prior to the Date of Entry and there may be grounds for a claim against a Seller if he/ she does not do so.
So would a marble fireplace constitute a fixture or fitting that should remain in the property under the Scottish Standard Clauses? The short answer is yes; the removal of a fireplace would certainly cause material damage to the fabric or decoration of the property and should therefore be included in the price. We do not however know the terms of the contract between the buyer and seller of Ayton Castle and it is possible that the contract either did not refer to the Scottish Standard Clauses or that the parties contracted out of the standard position- the Court of Session will reach a decision on such matters.
The finer detail of Clause 1 of the Standard Clauses reads as follows:
1 FIXTURES, FITTINGS & CONTENTS
1.1 The Property is sold with:
1.1.1 all heritable fittings and fixtures;
1.1.2 all items of whatever nature fixed or fitted to the Property the removal of which would materially damage the fabric or decoration of the Property;
1.1.3 all items stated to be included in the sales particulars or advertisements made available to the Purchaser;
1.1.4 the following insofar as any were in or pertained to the Property when viewed by the Purchaser: garden shed or hut, greenhouse, summerhouse;
all growing plants, shrubs, trees (except those in plant pots); artificial grass;
all types of blinds, pelmets, curtain rails and runners, curtain poles and rings thereon; all carpets and floor coverings (but excluding loose rugs), stair carpet fixings;
fitted bedroom furniture; all fixed bathroom and cloakroom mirrors, bathroom and toilet fittings;
kitchen units; all cookers, hobs, ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and freezers if integral to or encased within matching units;
extractor hoods, extractor fans, electric storage heaters, electric fires, electric light fittings (including all fluorescent lighting, external lighting, wall lights, dimmer switches and bulbs and bulb holders but not shades);
television aerials and associated cables and sockets, satellite dishes; loft ladders; rotary clothes driers; burglar alarm, other security systems and associated equipment; secondary glazing; fixed shelving;
fireplace surround units, fire grates, fenders and associated ironmongery;
brackets or similar fittings for any wall mounted television (but not the television itself);
smart thermostats or similar devices providing a heating control system;
integrated sound systems including fitted speakers and wiring (but excluding any amplifier); and
electric car charging points;
1.1.5 oil in any storage tank and gas in any gas cylinders or tank remaining at the Date of Settlement.
1.2 Where a wheeled bin or other receptacle for the collection of refuse is provided free of charge by the Local Authority or other body responsible for the collection of refuse, the Seller will ensure that the said bin or receptacle is left at the Property for the Purchaser failing which the Seller will meet the cost of replacing same.
1.3 The Seller warrants that at the Date of Settlement all items included in the Price are owned by the Seller, are or will be free of all debt, and are not the subject of any litigation.
1.4 The Seller undertakes to remove all moveables from the Property not otherwise included in the Price as at the Date of Settlement.
© Ricky T. Hope March 2022
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