What is a Fixture?
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Georgia law provides that anything permanently attached to land or to the buildings is a part of the property. It further states that “anything which is intended to remain permanent in its places even if it is not actually attached to the land is a fixture which is part of the property and passes with it.”
There is limited case law in Georgia regarding fixtures, as the cost of litigating the issue is almost always more expensive than replacing the debated fixture.
Courts have held that mailboxes, light fixtures, ceiling fans, sewer lines, sheds, furnaces, and garbage disposals are fixtures.
Courts have also held that stereo systems, gas grills, satellite dishes, and track lighting are not fixtures.
Trees, plants and shrubbery are generally held to be fixtures
How to Avoid Issues
The single best way to avoid any confusion as to whether or not an item is a fixture or not is to remove the item before listing the property for sale.
Another effective way to avoid any dispute as to whether or not an item is a fixture or not is to explicitly state in the purchase and sale agreement that said item is personal property and its possession is to remain with the seller when the sale is completed.
More Than One of a Particular Type of Fixture
If an item on the fixtures checklist (on the Seller’s Property disclosure), all items with that particular description remain. For example, if “light fixtures” are identified as remaining with the property, all lighting fixtures stay. Same goes for refrigerators, clothes driers, etc.
Credit for Removed Fixture at Closing
Prior to closing, seller shall have the right to remove the following fixture from the property:________. The parties agree that the value of the fixture being removed is $_______. At closing this amount shall be credited towards the purchase price of the property.
Surround Sound System Will Remain with Property
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained herein, all portions of the surround sound system currently serving the property, including, but not limited to, wiring, speakers, receivers, speaker and receiver cabinetry, and all other equipment needed to make the system operational, shall remain with the property.