From time to time light fixtures present an issue as to whether or not they are included in a transaction.
Most of the time, they are truly “fixtures”, unless they are akin to lamps, or might represent very unique and very valuable artwork.
However, let’s consider a modern tiffany light which is plugged in, but a hook attaches the actual light to the ceiling. Is this a fixture or a chattel?
In most situations, the fact that it is not hardwired into the electrical system and it is only affixed by an independent hook would suggest that it is really more like a picture or other chattel in the house.
The difficulty, is that this particular light matches the drapes, the paint colour and the rest of the décor in the living room. It’s not that expensive, but, the buyer would like to have it.
The standard form Agreement of Purchase and Sale includes two categories:
- Fixtures excluded, and
- Chattels included.
Most of the lighting in the house will be considered to be fixtures. That means that they go with the house, even without saying anything.
This particular light, seems to be a chattel, like table lamps. So, it needs to be added to the “chattels included” clause. That can actually represent something of a challenge.
Usual Additional wording
The usual additional wording that is added here is:
“all existing light fixtures”
Unfortunately, that particular wording may be insufficient. This phrase referred to “fixtures” and the fixtures already go with the house. There was no need to add anything.
What we really need, if the tiffany lamp is to be included is some very general wording:
“all existing lighting which provides illumination…”.
Remember that this is in the “chattels included” section, so this lighting would be considered to be a chattel, and unless it were mentioned would not stay.
Or, something very specific:
“the tiffany light in the living room…”
Once we have something either very general directed to lights as chattels or something very specific, then, we have uncertainty.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker