Conveyancing Lawyer in Hong Kongconveyancing-lawyer-hong-kong-300x152

As a conveyancing lawyer in Hong Kong,  I was inquired by a friend regarding the sale of a residential flat. There were several window-type air-conditioner in the flat. My friend signed a valid Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) to sell the flat without mentioning whether the air-conditioners are included in the sale in the SPA. My friend asked me whether he can remove the air-conditioners before he deliver the flat to the buyer.

To answer the question, we need to understand the concept of fixtures and chattels. In short, fixtures are part of the real estate and must pass with the sale of flat while chattels are not part of the flat and can be removed before delivery of the flat.

Conveyance Lawyer Tell You: Difference Between a Fixtures and a Chattel

Things attached to the land (a flat is part of land) or permanently fastened to anything attached to the land are fixtures which will pass on the assignment of land, unless contrary intention is expressed in the assignment. The general rule is that whatever is annexed to the land becomes part of the land. Otherwise it is chattel.

Whether an article is so annexed is a question of intention determined objectively mainly by the degree of annexation and the object or purpose of annexation. So we need exam the extent of attachment to the land, whether can be easily removed without damage to either the article or the land. Also, we need consider whether the article is attached to the land for the permanent or substantial improvement of the land or merely for a temporary purpose, or the more complete enjoyment and use of it as a chattel.

Applying these principles, the ceiling fans may be presumed to be fixtures because they are physically attached and the purpose of installing ceiling fans is for the more convenient use of the flat, rather than for the more convenient use of them as chattels. (Holland v Hodgson). On the other hand, a window-type air-conditioner attached to a wall was decided to be a chattel (Yu Yiu King Samuel v Kobylanski, Stephen Andre).

So what? If you are not sure whether an article is a fixture or a chattel, ask a conveyance lawyer in Hong Kong.

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