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How do I know what will be left at a property when I buy it? 

Well before completion, unless you are purchasing a new build property, you should receive a Fixtures and Fittings Form this goes through items such as carpets, blinds, curtains and light shades. The Seller will have placed a mark indicating whether they intend to leave the item or take the item with them on completion. 

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But, what happens if the Seller leaves items in the property on completion, that you do not want? 

The issue of Personal Chattels (tangible moveable property) has been an issue for lawyers for quite literally, millennia. We know this because even Roman Lawyers discussed and documented it, here. For residential conveyancing this can become a problem if the Seller has left items in the property on the day of completion. Buyers should be able to expect vacant possession of the property on the day of completion meaning the Seller should have removed everything from the house which wasn’t previously agreed to be part of the sale. 

What should you do before completion? 

If you are worried the Seller may leave items in the property that you do not want, you should contact the Estate Agents to organise a “final inspection” to confirm whether the Seller is ready and able to give Vacant Possession. If the Seller is not ready, then you should instruct your Solicitor to formally hold off completion with the otherside Solicitors until the Seller removes their personal possessions from the property. If you have exchanged contracts and the Seller does not remove their items, then they may face the costs of failing to complete. 

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What can the Seller ‘legally’ leave in the property on completion? 

Aside from the items in the Fixtures and Fittings Form, if you have agreed to buy anything additional from the property, you should always advise your property Solicitor. The items which should be left in the property are the items indicated as included on the form and any items you have made additional agreements about. As soon as you move in, you can then use the Fixtures and Fittings Form as a checklist to tick off any items that should be left in the property or which should have been removed. We also recommend that you take pictures of items so that the pictures can be used as evidence in case anything goes wrong. 

Can I claim for removing the Seller’s items from my property? 

Firstly, you should instruct your Property Solicitor to contact the Solicitors who acted for the Seller. You should provide your Solicitor with as many pictures and as much information as possible in order that they can pass this on to the Seller’s Solicitors. The solicitors will be obliged to pass this correspondence on to their client. If that fails, you could issue a claim in the small claims court against the seller to try to recover your costs — assuming the costs will be under £10,000. It should however be noted that to issue a claim you will need the Seller’s new address and their Solicitor will not be able to disclose this without their authority. 
 
If you need expert assistance in buying or selling your home contact our Property Law Solicitors now via enquiries@mglegal.co.uk or call 01995 602 129. 

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