Fixtures and Fittings – What to Leave and What to Expect

fixtures and fittings

The Law

What should you leave behind, and what can you expect to find, when selling or buying a house? The issue of fixtures and fittings can be very contentious, primarily because there is no law that specifies what should be left in the house and what should be removed. Different buyers and vendors have different expectations and it is wise to clarify what will be included with the property in the early stages of the sale proceedings.

Legally the vendor is not obliged to leave any fixtures or fittings in the house, but the onus is on the vendor to clarify what will be taken. Usually conflict is avoided by the creation of an inventory which is attached to the sales contract stating what is included with the price of the house and what will be taken when the vendor moves. If an inventory is not formed, it is generally assumed that fixtures will be left but fittings will be removed, unless stated otherwise elsewhere. This means that if a fixture is removed without the buyer being forewarned the vendor could find themselves in a small claims court and have to pay the cost of replacing the contended fixture.

What is a fixture/fitting?

There are no set definitions for what constitutes a fixture or a fitting, but generally a fixture is understood to be any item that is bolted to the floor or walls, and a fitting to be any item that is free standing or hung by a nail or hook. Below is a list of items that will usually fall under each category.


  • Light fitments
  • Central-heating boilers and radiators
  • Built in wardrobes/cupboards (e.g. if they use a wall to form one of their sides and would thus be incomplete if they were removed)
  • Bathroom suites (sinks/baths/toilets)
  • Plugs
  • Kitchen units
  • Wall paintings


  • Paintings or mirrors that are not bolted but hung or screwed to a wall.
  • Carpets
  • Curtains and curtain rails
  • Free-standing ovens, refrigerators and washing machines
  • Beds/sofas and other free standing items of furniture
  • Lampshades
  • Television aerials and satellite dishes

Why all the fuss?

Whilst a plug here or a towel rail there will not make much difference to the value of a house, fixtures and fittings can add up to thousands of pounds in total and will make a big difference to the monetary worth of a property. Typically, if the vendor took all furniture (fitted and free-standing) central heating fixtures, curtains, telephones, satellite dishes, dustbins and fireplaces the buyer would have lost approximately £15,000, so it is well worth taking the time to clarify what will and won’t be left in the property before the sale goes through. It is important that the buyer ensures they are getting what they think they are paying for and for the vendor to avoid any legal trouble that could occur later on in proceedings.


When buying or selling a house it is useful to have an inventory in order to agree from the outset which fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale. Below is an example inventory form which can be tailored to each buyer or vendor’s own specifications.

Inventory of Fixtures and Fittings
Room Fixture/Fitting Included in purchase (tick or cross)
General Plug Sockets
Door Bell
Door Knocker
Shutters & Grills
Interior Door Furniture
Exterior Door Furniture
Double Glazing
Window Fitments
Kitchen Cooker
Spice Rack
Cutlery Rack
Extractor Fan
Washing Machine
Built-in Appliances (specify):
Living/ Dining & Bedrooms Curtains (Including net curtains)
Curtain Rails, Fittings, Tracks & Poles
Lamp Shades/Bulbs
Wall Fittings (shelves/mirrors etc.)
Gas/Electric Fires
Burglar Alarm
Smoke Alarms
Other (Specify):
Bathroom Carpet
Medicine Cabinet/Cabinet
Towel Rail
Fitted Shelves/Cupboards
Shower or Bath Unit
Toilet Fittings
Shaver Fitting
Soap & Toothbrush Holders
Shower Fittings & Curtain
Outside Shed
Trees, Plants, Flowers
Garden Equipment & Furniture (Specify)
Garden Ornaments
Water Butts
Satellite Dish/TV Aerial
Additional Notes
I hereby certify that the items checked and noted on this agreement are included in the sale price of the property.
SIGNED: _________________________ House Seller

Negotiation Techniques

Getting the most for the price of a house often comes down to good negotiation techniques.

  • Stay calm and polite when attempting to negotiate the fixtures and fittings you would like to be left – a sale often falls through because of heated conflict over the finer details of a property.
  • Ensure both parties are clear which items are fixtures and which are fittings to avoid confusion later on.
  • Do all negotiating face to face – that way both parties can gauge responses more accurately and working out what will be left after the move will be easier.
  • Be friendly – the other party is much more likely to accommodate your wishes if they like you.
  • Think about which fixtures and fittings you actually need – there is no point arguing to keep a sink if you’re just going to get rid of it later on. Remember, disposing of unwanted items can be very costly.
  • Don’t make unreasonable demands; you’re more likely to strain relations and end up with a worse deal.
  • As soon as any agreements are made write it down so there can be no contentions further down the line.

22 comments on “Fixtures and Fittings – What to Leave and What to Expect

  1. Karen Barratt on

    My friend has just bought a house. The vendor ticked the box to say she was leaving all the 4-month old carpets. She then took the two very large bedroom carpets. It turns out she had told her solicitors she had changed her mind about these carpets but they did not pass the message on. My friend had a copy of the fixtures &fittings list and even had a text from the vendor saying there had been an error in communication. My friend has had to unexpectedly buy and fit new carpets. What is her legal position?

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi Karen,

      Sorry this has happened to your friend! I have done a little research and found this quote in a Telegraph article;

      Before an exchange of contracts, a seller’s solicitor will ask them to fill in a “Fittings and Contents” form, which states which items are included in the sale, which are to be removed from the property, and which items are to be charged for separately.
      This form should be provided to the buyer before the contracts are exchanged, and should be attached to the parts of the contract signed by the seller and the buyer immediately before exchange.
      So who is at fault?
      If our readers’ solicitor failed to show them such information, “they have strong grounds for complaint because it is a breach of the Law Society’s conveyancing protocol, which is designed to standardise the process of transferring property”, said Ms Blackburn. This applies to all legal advisers who are registered with the Conveyancing Quality Scheme

      Full article can be found here:

      Sounds like your friend could opt to seek legal advice on how to proceed further. However she should be mindful that the cost of doing so (in legal fees etc) may end up being more than she’d spend on 2 carpets

      Best of luck to her!

  2. Catherine Johnson on

    I have had my offer accepted for a property but some items are being left out. We both signed identical contracts but I didn’t read them and so didn’t know what would be included in the sale. I assumed that the flagstones paved in the garden (as well as some left over on the side) would be included as well as a shed in the garden. However, when I went back for another visit both these items were removed. I was told by the sellers that the shed would remain but we hadn’t discussed the flagstones. What is my legal position? Can I claim these items?

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi Catherine,

      You would need to speak with your solicitor on this matter and have a read through the contract, they may have said one thing, but if it wasn’t in the contract you both signed, it’s hard to go back on that.

      It’s odd that they’d take the flagstone paving though! I can’t find anything that suggests whether they are considered fixtures or fittings to ascertain your position. Apologies we can’t be of further assistance!

  3. Ian on

    We’re just about to sell a property that has fitted cupboards in the hallway. I’d like to take the doors of the cupboards for a project at our new property but am unsure if the doors officially/legally form part of the fitted unit.
    Are they classed as an ‘internal door fitting’ (I assume this is more of a door to a room) or do they form part of the cupboard? Can you offer any clarification?

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi Ian

      If you intend to take the doors, this would need to be accepted in writing from the buyers prior to exchange of contracts

      Good luck with your project!

  4. teresa ireland on

    I am due to move house soon and on my contents fixtures/fitting form, I ticked that I was leaving the Electric fires & surrounds that I have. One is hard wired and the other is plugged into the socket. Can I remove and replace the plugged in fire & surround and leave in a tidy state

  5. Chen Li on

    hi, I have recently bought a house with a tenant staying on. My understanding with the vendor is that she has left everything in the house. The Fittings & Content form provided by my solicitor was quite high level. When I asked the solicitor to contact the vendor, seller’s solicitor replied that ‘all white goods will remain in the property, My client does not intend to take anything with her’. is this legally strong enough to assume that everything in the house belong to me, how do I protect myself better with tenant against missing fixtures/fittings/furnitures in the future when tenant moves out? thanks

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi There,

      We think your best bet here is to have an inventory from the Seller where they state which of their possessions are being left and also carry out an inventory of the items belonging to the tenant. You would then be able to cross reference these when it comes to the tenant moving out to ensure nothing is taken / left behind that shouldn’t be

      Hope that makes sense

  6. Maria on

    When the Estate Agent showed us round the property he pointed out the boiler and the cupboard. On the actual boiler there was a sticker saying “your system is protected by Magnaclean” “annual service required. When British gas came to inspect the boiler, after purchasing the house, engineer could not find the Magnaclean. Has the seller mislead us? Or perhaps having the Magnaclean removed?

  7. Maria Rahman on

    On the inventory the seller said he was taken some hanging lights in the kitchen but he not only took those down but also all the light fittings in the house without notify us. He did replace them with ordinary ceiling pendants. He made extra holes on the ceiling plaster and took 95% of all the bulbs in the house. Now we are worried because the work was done by the seller and does not appear to be done properly. He has admitted in writing that he did the work himself like for like so he claims. But it was not like for like as the original fittings were of a greater value and fitted nicely on the ceiling. The new pendants are smaller so you can see the extra holes made to accommodate the new pendants. In the hallway part of the plaster is missing so you can see quite a big gap. Where do we stand on this

  8. Rich on

    I have accepted an offer for the sale of my house, had completed a fictures and fittings form and ticked that we woud be leaving the greenhouse. The buyers solicitors have asked us on the buyers behalf if we would remove the greenhouse. Are we legally obliged to have to remove it, just becaue they’ve asked, even though we’d stated it would be staying?

  9. Paul on


    Very useful opinion on the site, thank you for that. I recently purchased a property where the FFC form stated that the cooker hood/extractor until was both installed and included in the sale, yet immediately prior to completion the seller removed the existing hood and replaced it with a vastly inferior product (albeit brand new).

    Furthermore as part of the fitted kitchen there was a built-in coffee machine and wine cooler – both of which they removed without any notification. These two items were not explicitly listed on the FFC form but my assumption was that these would be covered by the ‘fitted kitchen units’ section, which was ticked as included. Now these items have been removed there are gaps in the kitchen with the back wall exposed.

    The seller appears to think they’ve done nothing wrong as ‘an extractor hood is included and the other two items were not explicitly listed on the form’.

    For context there are a lot more items that they have left (such as a glass sided fireplace and ceiling speakers) which are fittings and not explicitly listed. Am I correct in assuming that legally the onus should have been on them to explicitly state and get our agreement in writing if they wanted to remove fittings such as the build-in coffee machine and wine cooler?

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi Paul,

      This is a conversation best had with your conveyancer as these details should have been stipulated before the exchange of contracts. From our understanding, anything that was to be explicitly left or taken should be agreed in writing prior to exchange

  10. Jordan T on

    Hi, my girlfriend and I are buying a house and after our offer was accepted, the estate agent sent an email saying that the oven didn’t work 100% and they ‘wanted to be honest about this from the start’. The listing states “Modern Fitted Kitchen” and “…inset electric oven and grill with four ring electric ceramic hob, stainless steel extractor fan over…”.

    We asked for clarification and they have said the grill might work, but the oven doesn’t. Does this count as mis-advertising? Where do we stand?

    • Franki Napolitano on

      Hi Jordan,

      At this stage, if contracts haven’t been exchanged then the house hasn’t been miss-sold with a broken oven. In this instance, we’d suggest a conversation between both sets of solicitors about the repair/replacement or removal of the oven. Can the current owners agree to repairing or replacing the oven prior to sale? Or remove the oven and agree on the cost of a new one to be taken off the sale value?

      Just a couple of ideas to go back with

      If you had purchased the house and the Fixtures and Fittings form said the oven DID work and then you found it it didn’t (at the point of sale) then you’d have a right to go back as this would have been miss sold

      We hope that’s helpful – good luck!

  11. Caroline on

    I am in Scotland and have a friend who has just sold her house and the buyers have moved in recently. They have contacted her and said the general bin has been stolen from the property. My friend didn’t live at the property during the selling process so wasn’t aware it had been stolen and now the new owners want my friend to pay for the bin. Where does she stand?

    • Alice Fowler on

      Hi Caroline,
      If you mean the general household waste wheelie bin, simply contact the local council, as these should be available free of charge so there should not be a cost involved for your friend. Hope that helps!

  12. Julie on

    Hi I am buying a property and I don’t want the gas fire or surround can I ask for them to be removed. Also can I ask for the pond in the garden to be drained.


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