if a personal property not list in addendum is seller obligated by law to give to buyer cause they assumed it was

Sold a home the seller says that a rain barrel not attached to house was included and want it back. I send email saying in ten days thinking is was written in contract and I missed it.at the moment of email didn’t have contract front of me and nothing was signed relating rain barrel. I call wife to read the contract and the rain barrel was not one of items included so I replied to their realtor that I had no contract obligation and that the barrel is personal property and if they want it the barrel should have been listen in the addendum. Their response was they assume it was part house

Asked on September 16, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

This rain barrel was not a "fixture", in other words it was not permanenty attached to the house. Accordingly, it remains the property of the seller and therefore need not have been listed in the purchase agreement. That having been said, if the seller left it for a long enough period of time, it could be considered to be "abandoned" which means that they lose their ownership rights to it. For example, if 6 months later, they requested return of the rain barrel.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, items not attached or affixed to the house, even if they serve some purpose in the house (like a microwave sitting on shelf perfectly sized for it, but which is not actually built in; or the rain barrel you describe) belong to the seller and go with the seller, unless and only if they were left as included with the house in the contract of sale. The seller does not need to exclude non-attached property, because the default is that it belongs to and goes with the seller personally, not with the house, unless the contract says it is sold with the house. Rather, the contract must include what stays.

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