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Examination Timing: 00H00M34S

Ms. Brown has entered into a contract to sell her house. After exchanging contracts, she seeks advice about whether she may keep the light fitting in the sitting room. This fitting is held to the ceiling by three small screws and was made by Ms. Brown’s late father. The light fitting is not mentioned in the contract. 

May Ms. Brown remove the light fitting before completion?

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In property law, the distinction between fixtures and chattels is significant. Fixtures are items attached to the property in such a manner that they are considered part of the land, while chattels are movable items. The degree and purpose of attachment help determine whether an item is a fixture or a chattel. The light fitting in question is attached to the ceiling by three small screws, indicating a slight degree of attachment. Given this minor attachment and considering that it was made by Ms. Brown’s late father (implying sentimental value), it is likely to be classified as a chattel rather than a fixture. Therefore, Ms. Brown may remove the light fitting before completion. 

Key Point: The determination of whether an item is a fixture or a chattel depends on the degree and purpose of its attachment to the property. Items with slight attachment are generally considered chattels and can be removed by the seller unless explicitly included in the sale contract.

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