Nail down house fixtures in contract Buyer should try to put appliances in sale agreement

Mailbag

September 01, 1996

Dear Mr. Gisriel:

I recently purchased my first home. I moved in after settlement and found that the dining room lighting fixture had been removed. What is the law dealing with this situation?

Kenneth Hauser

Arnold

Dear Mr. Hauser:

Under Maryland law, "fixtures" are supposed to convey, or transfer, with the house while personal property or "chattel" does not.

The two major tests in determining whether something attached to a house is part of the house are:

The intention of the person who attached the item to the house, and whether he meant to make it a permanent part of the house;

Whether the item is permanently attached, and its removal would damage the house. Because a dining room lighting fixture usually can be easily removed without damaging the house, they are generally not considered a part of the house and are not automatically included with the sale.

I recommend that buyers list all lighting fixtures, appliances, curtain rods and outside sheds in the sales contract.

When in doubt, list the items as ones that will remain with the house.

Dear Mr. Gisriel:

I need a new roof. One contractor offered to put a rubber roof on for $820. Another contractor offered to put a rubber roof with aluminum coating for $900. But the first contractor said aluminum is bad for rubber roofs. What should I do?

William Oatman

Randallstown

Dear Mr. Oatman:

While it is a fairly new concept in residential real estate, a good quality rubber roof should last at least 10 years, according to Bruce Boswell, home inspector with Boswell Building Surveys, Inc.

But he recommended that you should get a 10-year warranty from the roofing company that covers materials and installation. Also, a roofer who has experience with rubber roofing is recommended.

The roof's price depends on the square footage. A quality rubber roof should be designed to wear well without an additional coating; the aluminum-coated rubber roof is probably unnecessary.

Pub Date: 9/01/96

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