A couple signed an agreement to buy a property.  When they did their pre-settlement inspection they noticed that the vendor had begun taking apart a greenhouse in the backyard in order to remove it.  The purchasers assumed they had bought the property with the greenhouse included.

Their lawyer checked the agreement and advised that because the greenhouse wasn’t listed as a chattel, and wasn’t attached to the land that it was not included in the sale.

Chattels being sold with the property are listed in Schedule 2 of the Standard ADLS Agreement for Sale and Purchase.

A chattel is anything being sold with the property that is not fixed to the land, for example lights, curtains, oven, tables, flag poles and spa pools are all chattels.

If a chattel is included in the Agreement then the vendor must provide it on settlement as part of the sale for no additional cost.

Under the standard ADLS Agreement for Sale and Purchase the vendor warrants and undertakes that any chattels included are in reasonable working order where applicable.  This means if it is not in reasonable working order prior to signing the Agreement the vendor should have this noted in the Agreement (for example “washing machine – not in working order” instead of “washing machine” should be listed).

If a chattel included in the sale, like a washing machine, is not working at settlement (and no statement has been made in the Agreement confirming this prior to signing) then the purchaser will have a claim against the vendor on settlement as the vendor was selling them that particular chattel with the property, in reasonable working order. Bear in mind though, if it is a 20 year old washing machine then vendor is not obligated to provide a brand new washing machine - it is like for like, or cost to repair, generally.

In the situation above, the greenhouse was not included in the sale and therefore the purchaser would have no right to insist to the vendor that it remain on the property.

It pays to take legal advice before signing an Agreement for Sale and Purchase to make sure the Agreement reflects what you think you are buying.