Is a TV bracket a fixture or a chattel?

Home cinema

Home cinemaWhen people buy or sell homes, there is endless debate about what is a fixture and what is a chattel. I remember one purchase where I had a long, drawn-out discussion with the vendor’s lawyer after closing about whether the central vacuum canister was a fixture or a chattel. (Eventually, the sellers dropped it off at the buyers’ house one day; my clients found it when they opened the front door to leave the house later that afternoon.) Some things are clear: a furnace is a fixture, as are built-in kitchen cabinets. Some things are fuzzier: what about a dishwasher that is built into a cabinet?

As our lives change, new things can be added to the “is this a chattel” list, such as TV brackets. Generally, a fixture is attached for the better use of the house, and a chattel is attached for the better use of the item. A TV bracket doesn’t make your house better, but does make the bracket and TV better, so it would seem to be more chattel-like than fixture-like. However, a buyer might see it differently when they arrive at their new home to find holes in the wall.

The bottom line? If you aren’t sure, make sure you list it as included or excluded so that everyone is on the same page. It doesn’t affect the legality of the agreement to list something as an excluded fixture if it turns out to be a chattel, but it will affect your stress levels after closing if you thought it was a chattel and the buyer starts harassing you for their fixture.