Ensuring that your chattel clauses are specific could go a long way to reducing disputes during and after settlement.
Often, an Offer and Acceptance will contain a clause stating that property chattels including all floor coverings, window treatments, light fittings, fixtures and fittings will remain in the property at settlement.
Despite this, disputes over what should stay or go from the property still arise.
For example, during a recent settlement case, a disagreement arose between the buyer and the seller over a dishwasher.
The buyer was unhappy that the dishwasher, which had been present in the property at the initial inspection, was not present when it came time for the final inspection. The buyer had assumed that the dishwasher was included in the sale of the property.
However, in this case, the contract had not expressly stated that the dishwasher was to remain.
Nonetheless, the seller decided to take the dishwasher back to the property, to avoid taking the dispute further. Had the seller refused to do so, the buyer may have attempted to take matters further by seeking legal advice, and possibly trying to commence legal action.
To help avoid disputes such as these, it’s worth confirming with the seller what is and isn’t staying in the property, and ensure that this is made clear to the buyer.
For example, if a specific chattel is remaining in the property, this could be noted in the chattel clause so that all parties are on the same page.
If the seller intends to take a specific chattel that might otherwise might have been assumed to be staying (for example, a dishwasher, or a chandelier that could have been considered a “light fitting”), this should be noted on the contract.
By being specific about which chattels will stay (and which won’t), you could save both your buyer and seller from unnecessary hassle before and after settlement.
Image by Chalon Handmade via Flickr.