Residential Lease Fixtures
What Property Can a Tenant Take When He Moves Out?
A tenant can take all of his property when moving out, with the exception of items that are "fixtures." A fixture is an item of personal property attached to the land or building that is regarded as an irremovable part of the real property. The item may be attached to the property by the tenant after they move in, or something that was previously installed by the property's owner.
What Factors Determine Whether Personal Property is a Fixture?
- Annexation: whether the item has been permanently attached to the building, and how hard it would be to remove it.
- Adaptation: whether the item has become sufficiently adapted to the normal uses of the property that such uses would be disrupted or impaired if the item were removed. This includes the amount of damage resulting to the land or personal property from its removal.
- Intention: whether it was the intention of the party who added the item that it become a fixture and whether the other party was aware of its attachment.
What Happens if a Tenant Removes a Fixture?
Generally, if the tenant removes any fixtures from the property, he will be liable to the owner. The owner may sue the tenant for the cost of replacing the fixture, and any damage that resulted from its improper removal.
How Can I Make Sure My Personal Property Does Not Become a Fixture?
A tenant can make sure personal property does not become a fixture by entering into an agreement with the landlord when the property is first installed. For example, agreeing that the tenant can install a dishwasher and remove it when they move out.
Do I Need A Lawyer Experienced with Fixtures?
A lawyer can help a landlord or tenant draft an agreement to specify which items will remain personal property of the tenant, and which are fixtures belonging to the landlord or building owner. An experienced real estate lawyer can help a tenant avoid having to pay a landlord property damages for removing something that the landlord considers a fixture.
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Last Modified: 06-03-2013 03:25 PM PDT
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