Chattels and Fixtures: What’s the Difference?

Many unusual terms are bandied about during the conveyancing process. To the uninitiated, it can be extremely confusing. Having a first-rate conveyancing firm in Brisbane at your side can help alleviate a lot of that confusion; however, it’s never a bad idea to familiarise yourself with a few of the most common terms beforehand. That way, you’ll go into the process with at least a basic understanding of what will occur. In that case, knowing the differences between fixtures and chattels is helpful.

What is a Fixture?

In the context of the conveyancing process, a fixture refers to any part of a property that is more or less permanently fixed to the land. Just remember that the “fix” in “fixture” refers to something that is “fixed” in place. In general, fixtures include things like the actual house, along with anything that is permanently attached to the house. Basically, if something is kept in place by something other than its own weight, it is probably a fixture.

To give you a clearer idea of what a fixture is, it helps to have a few examples. Beyond the house itself, fixtures may include things like carpeting and blinds. Pool filters, satellite dishes, and antennas are also typically considered to be fixtures. Inside a house, a stove would generally be classified as a fixture. After all, most homes are sold with stoves included; it is quite unusual to buy or sell a house that doesn’t come with a stove “attached.”

What is a Chattel?

A chattel refers to property that is easily moveable and, therefore, not permanent. It is temporary in that it can be moved with ease. If anything, a chattel might only be held in place by the force of its own weight – it isn’t necessarily kept in place by any other “permanent” means. Things like fridges, washing machines, and dryers are considered to be chattels since they are often removed from a home when it is being bought or sold. This is especially true if the item is particularly new or expensive; buyers and sellers usually prefer to take such things with them.

Conveyancing, Chattels and Fixtures

Since fixtures are things that are assumed to be included in a home, and that will not be included must be specified within the Reference Schedule of the conveyancing contract. Similarly, any chattels that will be included – i.e., a particularly nice fridge that’s being used to sweeten the deal – must be specified, too. In fact, any item that could be disputed at a later time – whether it’s removed or included – should be specified within the contract in order to avoid any confusion later on down the road.
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Andrew Francey


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Andrew has over two decades experience in high growth fast moving consumer goods, agribusiness and professional services. Supporting the Ownit team to deliver on client expectations, and implementing processes to scale the organisation, is a key focus for Andrew.

Andrew is a C-Suite leader with Chairman and Board experience.  He has formal qualifications in Business, Applied Finance and AICD Company Directors Course.

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