What Do You Legally Have to Leave When Selling a House UK?
Looking at your moving home checklist, things to do when moving out of home, and how we can help.
Alexandra Ventress ★ Digital Content Writer
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Moving out of your home can be an exciting time, however, it is also one of the most stressful experiences you will have to go through. Remembering to pack everything that is essential, making sure you don’t forget anything valuable, and vetting various moving companies are all part and parcel of the house-buying and selling process.
And whilst it often may seem obvious what you will take when moving out of home, what is often not as obvious is what you should leave behind in the move.
In this blog post, we will be looking at what you are legally meant to leave behind when you move, the difference between fixtures and fittings, and how to make the most of packing for your new address.
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What do you leave when moving home?
When it comes to selling your house, there is no law in the UK that dictates what stays with a house when you sell it. This can lead to some friction with your buyer, especially if they move into your home expecting to find carpets, only to find that you took them in the move to the new place.
In the UK, there is no obligation for sellers to indicate whether they are leaving any homeware or furniture when they move, however, it is common courtesy to notify your buyers on the condition you plan to leave the property in, as well as what you intend to leave.
The most effective way that you can alert your buyers to this is to include a fixtures and fittings checklist with the sale contract. This will help you to avoid complications further down the line, as everyone will be aware of exactly what will be left in the property.
Do I have to pay for cleaning when I move out?
Whether or not you have to pay for cleaning when you move out of your property will depend upon your own personal circumstances. If you live in a tenanted property and have a landlord, then it would be within your best interests to either pay for a professional cleaner to clean the property, or you should clean the property thoroughly yourself. This is because it is not just common courtesy, but also because if your landlord is not pleased with the condition that you have left the property in, they may withhold your deposit, leaving you out of pocket.
If you already own your own property, then whether or not you clean is down to personal choice, however, you should leave your property as you expect to find your new one.
How clean is a seller required to leave the house after moving out UK?
Legally, the seller can leave the property in whatever condition they wish. However, it is common decency to leave the property in a good, clean condition. As you will be aware, moving house is an incredibly stressful situation, and you should be looking to leave the property in a way that you would be pleased to find it.
Because of this, you should consider giving your property a deep clean before moving day. Hoovering and cleaning carpets, polishing floors and surfaces, and cleaning away any clutter.
What are fixtures and fittings?
When you are buying or selling a property, you will have likely heard the terms fixtures and sitting thrown about. But what exactly do they mean?
Fixtures are classed as items that are attached to the building, this would include radiators, worktops, and units.
Fittings are items that are items that are attached to the property but with nails and screws. Examples of fittings would be shelves and toilet roll holders.
Whilst you may find that the majority of fittings within your home are of low value, disagreements can still break out between buyers and sellers about what exactly is being left behind in the property. This is where a TA10 property form comes into play.
If you are moving into a new property, the last thing you want is to move in to find that the previous owners have left everything they didn’t want to take with them in the move. Equally, you do not want to move to find that the entire property has been stripped bare. By filling out a TA10 property information form, each party can agree on what fixtures and fittings are staying and going as part of the move.
If you are the seller, then your solicitor should give you a copy of the TA10 form to fill out. The best way to do this is to go through your property, room by room and decide what you will take with you in the move, and what you will be leaving behind.
After the form has been completed, the buyer’s solicitor will receive the TA10 from the seller’s solicitor and will be able to raise any queries they may have.
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What are the laws on fixtures and fittings?
More often than not, as the seller, you are legally expected to leave the property in a “reasonable” condition. There are exceptions made for slight wear and tear that may occur between the exchange of contracts and the completion day.
As already mentioned, the seller is obligated to leave behind the contents stated in the contract of sale. So if a buyer agreed to a sale under the pretence that the white goods would be included only to find the seller has taken them, this could be deemed as a breach of contract. Whilst the buyer could pursue this legally, legal procedures are often costly, and it is often not worth the buyer’s time or money to pursue.
What to leave on moving day?
When it comes to packing, it can be difficult to know what to take with you to your new home, and you will need to leave. Below we have listed some items that you may be expected to leave when you move, but are under no legal obligation to leave.
- Light fittings and switches
- Built-in wardrobes
- Kitchen counters
- Bathroom suites
- Curtain rails and curtain poles
- TV Aerials and satellite
Do you leave carpets when you move out?
Whilst some of the items in your house may obviously fall into either fixtures or fittings, there are a few household items that may be harder to categorise, thus making it harder to pack. Carpets could technically fall into the fittings category and can be easily taken up, however many buyers will often expect them in the home.
Whether or not you leave your carpets will depend on your own personal choices, but if you are planning on taking them, you should make this clear to the buyer early on in the process.
Do you leave shelves when moving?
As a rule of thumb, when it comes to fittings, you should aim to leave them behind when you move house. It is a good idea to read through your contract carefully in order to fully understand what can be taken and what you have agreed to leave, however, shelves are usually expected to be left behind.
Do you take curtains with you when you move?
Unless it is stated in your TA10, then you will not be legally obligated to leave the curtains behind. However, it is considered polite to make your buyer aware of this if you do plan on taking them with you, as it is difficult to find curtains that fit, and no one wants to move into a property with bare windows.
However, whilst you are not obligated to leave the curtains, you will more than likely be required to leave the curtain pole. If you have already stated in the TA10 form that you will leave the curtains, then you are legally bound to do so.
Do you take your wheelie bin with you when moving?
You should not take your wheelie bin with you when you move. You will have a wheelie bin already waiting at your next property, however, you will still be able to use your wheelie-bin up until the moving day. The general rule is that it is acceptable to leave a bit of rubbish at the bottom of the bin, but there should be enough room for the buyers to use it until the next bin day. Any extra rubbish needs to be taken to the skip or removed.
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Top tips for deciding what to leave when packing
When it comes to moving house, you should have all of the fixtures and fittings that you plan to leave for the new buyers outlined clearly in your inventory. Below, we have outlined three of our top tips for deciding what to take with you when moving home.
Before you commit to the sale, you should make sure that you write down exactly what you are leaving for the new homeowner. This will help the sale to progress a lot smoother and will mean your buyer knows exactly what they are getting when moving to a new home.
You may want to take all of your fixtures and fittings with you when you move to your new home. However, this may require some strong negotiating on your behalf, so it is important to remain friendly and open to your buyer’s point of view.
By leaving a list of the items that you plan to leave behind for your buyers, you have the potential to speed up your sale. The offer of the fixtures and fittings included with your property may be enough to sweeten the deal for any buyers who may be hesitating and secure you a faster sale.
Or alternatively, you could sell your home in as little as 28 days through us…
The Property Selling Company
Regardless of whether you are buying or selling, here at The Property Selling Company, we are here to help!
We’ve made it our mission to change the way that you sell houses because we believe that a house sale should be three things: fast, effortless, and free.
That’s why when you sell your house with us, you can say goodbye to expensive legal and estate agent bills, as we can sell your house in as little as 28 days, without the fees.
We offer you a full estate agent service but without the hassle. Whether you are buying or selling, we are here to take care of everything and work alongside you every step of the selling or buying process.
If you are ready to kickstart your house selling or buying journey, then get in touch today by giving us a call or by filling out one of our free no-obligation valuation forms!