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What Do You Legally Have to Leave When Selling a House UK?

Property Saviour » Litigation » What Do You Legally Have to Leave When Selling a House UK?

Moving out of your home can be an exciting yet stressful experience. It’s important to remember to pack everything essential and not forget any valuable items.

It would help if you also vetted different moving companies to make the most out of the house-buying and selling process.

What is less obvious is what you should leave behind. In this blog post, we will discuss what you are legally required to leave behind, the difference between fixtures and fittings, and how to best pack for your new home.

Table of Contents

What do you leave when moving home?

When it comes to selling your house, there is no legal requirement in the UK to state what stays with the property. This can create problems with the buyer, especially if they move in expecting carpets, only to discover they have been taken away.

In the UK, sellers are not obligated to tell buyers what homeware or furniture they will be leaving. Still, it is polite to inform them of the condition of the property and what will be included.

The best way to ensure everyone is aware of the situation is to include a fixtures and fittings checklist with the sale contract. This will prevent problems further down the line, as everyone will have a clear understanding of what is being left on the property.

Do I have to pay for cleaning when I move out?

Whether or not you need to pay for cleaning when you vacate your property will depend on your situation.

If you live in a rented place and have a landlord, it would be in your best interest to either pay for professional cleaning services or clean the property thoroughly yourself.

This is both a matter of courtesy and because if your landlord is not satisfied with the condition of the property when you leave, they may not give you back your deposit, meaning you would lose out financially.

If you own the property yourself, then it is up to your preference whether or not you clean, though you should leave the property in the same condition as you’d expect to find a new one.

How clean is a seller required to leave the house after moving out UK
If you own the property yourself, then it is up to your preference whether or not you clean, though you should leave the property in the same condition as you'd expect to find a new one.

How clean is a seller required to leave the house after moving out UK?

Legally, the seller can leave the property however they wish. However, it’s only good practice to leave it in a satisfactory condition. Everyone knows how stressful moving house is, so you should ensure the property is presentable.

A deep clean is recommended before moving day. Vacuuming and cleaning carpets, polishing floors and surfaces, and tidying up any mess will leave the property in a much better state.

What are fixtures and fittings? 

Fixtures and fittings are terms you may have come across when buying or selling a property. It’s important to know what they mean.

Fixtures are items attached to the building, such as radiators, worktops and units. Fittings, on the other hand, are secured with nails and screws, like shelves and toilet roll holders.

TA10 form 

Whilst the majority of fittings in your home may not have a high value, disputes can still arise between buyers and sellers regarding what should be left behind. To prevent such a situation, a TA10 property form is used.

If you are moving into a new property, you want to make sure that the previous owners have not left behind unwanted items while also ensuring that the property isn’t empty.

To do this, both parties should complete a TA10 property information form, which details which fixtures and fittings are staying and going as part of the move.

The seller’s solicitor should provide them with a copy of the TA10 form to fill out. It is recommended to go through the property, room by room, to decide what to take and what to leave behind.

Once the form is completed, the buyer’s solicitor will receive the TA10 from the seller’s solicitor and can raise any queries they may have.

What are the laws on fixtures and fittings
More often than not, sellers are expected to leave the property in a "reasonable" condition, though some minor wear and tear may be allowed.

What are the laws on fixtures and fittings? 

More often than not, sellers are expected to leave the property in a “reasonable” condition, though some minor wear and tear may be allowed. The seller must also provide the contents stated in the contract of sale.

Should the buyer discover that the white goods have been removed after the exchange of contracts, this could be seen as a breach of contract. However, the buyer would need to seek legal action to receive compensation, and this can be costly and time-consuming. 

What to leave on moving day?

When packing, it can be difficult to know what to bring to your new home and what you must leave behind.

Here are some items that you may be asked to leave, but not legally required to do so:

  • Fixtures,
  • Light fittings,
  • Switches,
  • Plugs,
  • Boilers,
  • Built-in wardrobes,
  • Kitchen counters,
  • Bathroom suites,
  • Radiators,
  • Fittings,
  • Curtain rails,
  • Curtain poles,
  • Shelves,
  • Carpets,
  • TV aerials and satellites.

Do you leave carpets when you move out?

Some items in your home can be easily categorized as either fixtures or fittings, but some may be more challenging to put into one of these two categories.

Carpets, for example, could be classified as fittings and could be taken up relatively easily. However, many buyers would expect carpets to stay in the house.

Whether or not you decide to keep your carpets is entirely up to you, but it’s important to make your decision clear to the buyer at the start of the process.

Do You Leave Shelves When Moving​
As a general rule, when you're moving house, you should leave your fixtures and fittings behind.

Do you leave shelves when moving?

As a general rule, when you’re moving house, you should leave your fixtures and fittings behind.

To make sure you understand what you can take and what you have agreed to leave, it’s important to read your contract carefully. Generally, shelves should be left behind.

Do you take curtains with you when you move?

Unless stated in your TA10, you are not legally required to leave the curtains behind.

However, it is considerate to let your buyer know if you plan on taking them with you, as finding curtains that fit properly can be a challenge and no one wants to move into a property with no window coverings.

Though you are not obligated to leave the curtains, you will likely be bound to leave the curtain pole. If you have indicated in the TA10 form that you will leave the curtains, then you must do so legally.

Do you take your wheelie bin with you when moving? 

You should not bring your wheelie bin with you when you move. A wheelie bin will be provided at your new property, but you can use your own until the moving day.

It is alright to leave a bit of rubbish at the bottom of the wheelie bin, as long as there is enough space for the new owners to use it until the next bin day.

Any additional waste must be taken away or put into a skip.

Deciding what to leave when packing
You may want to take all of your furnishings and fittings with you, but this may require some negotiation. It is important to keep a friendly and open attitude when talking to potential buyers.

Top tips for deciding what to leave when packing 

When packing, it’s important to decide what to leave behind. Here are some top tips to help you out:

  1. Get it in writing. Before you commit to the sale, make sure that you have a written record of what you are leaving behind for the next homeowner. This will help the sale progress smoothly and make sure that the buyer knows what they are getting.
  2. Be friendly. You may want to take all of your furnishings and fittings with you, but this may require some negotiation. It is important to keep a friendly and open attitude when talking to potential buyers.
  3. Speed up your sales. If you make a list of items that you plan to leave behind for the buyers, this may help to speed up the sale. The offer of fixtures and fittings could be enough to convince hesitant buyers and secure you a quicker sale.

Or, you could sell your home in just 10 days with us.

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