House Purchase – removal of goods

11.1.30.L4 Updated on:27 October 2021

Buying a house and removal of goods

If you buy a house or property, it becomes yours from midnight of the day the contract is passed. Therefore anything removed from the property on the morning of the contract day has been taken or converted illegally.

Although in theory it is possible to remove garden plants before the sale, it is wise to mention this to the person who is buying. They may be buying the property because of the stock in the garden. Most buyers would understand perhaps taking a plant that has sentimental value, but not the removal of shrubs and trees.

Garden features in the form of statues, benches etc. may or may not be included in the purchase, and should be included on the inventory if they are intended to be for sale.

Fish from fishponds

Fish in a fishpond are part of the property and are sold with the land (unless expressly excluded with agreement of the purchasers).

Fixtures of the house

Generally anything fixed to the structure of the property becomes a part of it for sale purposes, although small items such as toothbrush holders would not normally be considered in this.

Larger items of furniture, e.g. wardrobes and electrical items such as wall lights, electric radiators, fans etc. should not be removed before the sale unless the buyers have been made aware that they are not included, and they have been left out of the inventory.

It is wise for sellers to make clear what they intend to take with them and for buyers to ask sellers for confirmation of what is to be left. The inventory can then formalise these discussions.

Aggrieved purchasers who believe items have been removed illegally should ask their lawyer for advice on whether the items could be returned or compensation paid.