Fixtures are a very important aspect of property law. Initially, they are personal property, but later become real property. The process required in order to take a fixture and transform it to real property is quite delicate. The determination of whether a fixture is personal or real property can sometimes be complicated.
Every state may have a different requirement in order for the fixture to be part of real property. Some states investigate how the fixture is attached to the property, others look to see what the actual fixture is. The more solid the attachment between the fixture and the real property, the higher the chances of it being considered part of the real property.
Fixtures can be anything from a stove inside the house, to a over-sized shed in a backyard. If the stove has wheels or is just sitting in the kitchen without being permanently affixed, it is labeled personal property. On the other hand, if the stove was bolted into the ground securely and professionally, it would be labeled real property.
There may be certain states which will still consider the stove to be personal property due to what the stove is used for. Now, if you take the shed, regardless of the amount of how much it weighs, if it is not bolted, it will be labeled as personal property, and vice versa.
These terms play a major role when it comes to the transfer of land. When bolted or permanently affixed to the property, it is considered real property. Therefore it is transferred with the land unless specifically stated prior to any agreement of the transfer. If it is stated after an agreement is made, then they might need to be compensated for. The courts tend to also see the intent of the owner to see if they designed it to be a fixture.
If designed to be a fixture, and it is not clearly stated, one may be penalized with either a fine or even jail time. When dealing with loan transactions, fixtures play a role. If you put a loan up against a piece of property, it has to be noted that everything permanently affixed within the property is also up against the loan if needed.
All in all, fixtures are pieces of articles that can play a major role when there is a transfer of property. Each states varies regarding its determining of fixtures, different courts also have their own views on it. Under the ruling of a particular state, a judge may also have opposing views, but would need to follow the rulings similarly due to precedents.
Remember, when buying new appliances or other items for your land, keep in mind that whatever you permanently affix will also be transferred with your property. That is why some people do not dig or nail things onto the land.