Chattels Versus Fixtures

March 14, 2019

You may have heard the terms chattel and fixture thrown around by an Ontario real estate lawyer or agent, but what do these terms actually mean? It is important to understand the difference between fixtures and chattels because Ontario real estate law treats each differently.

The general rule in Ontario is that all fixtures become property of the purchaser and all chattels remain property of the seller. If you want any exceptions to this rule, they should be clearly spelled out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If you have any doubt as to what is a chattel or fixture, or what is included or excluded, ask your Ontario real estate lawyer to be sure.

Fixtures

A fixture is an object that has been fastened or otherwise attached to the property in such a way that it becomes part of the property. Clear examples of a fixtures are fireplaces, doors, and counters. It is also possible that something is fixture even if it isn’t attached to the property if it is very heavy and it was intended to become part of the property or benefit it. Alternatively, if the heavy object can be removed without causing damage or requiring alterations to fixtures or the land, it is not a fixture, but a chattel.

Chattels

Chattels are all tangible personal property that aren’t real estate or fixtures. Books, a bed, a couch and a computer, are all examples of chattels. Similarly, many large appliances you might assume to be fixtures are actually chattels. The general rule is that any object which is plugged in and can be removed without any damage or alteration is a chattel.

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