Can we delay closing if the seller has removed a fixture from the house that was not in the contract or otherwise agreed upon?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can we delay closing if the seller has removed a fixture from the house that was not in the contract or otherwise agreed upon?

We are in the process of purchasing a home and at the time of contract there was a basketball

hoop cemented into the ground. The sellers asked if they could take the hoop and we said that it is a fixture and we would like to keep it. So, it needed to stay. They decided to take the pole/ hoop down anyway. Our agent says that we cannot delay closing because of this and should close on time and just take them to small claims court after. We would like them to simply fulfill their end of the contract and put the pole/ hoop back before we close. Can we delay closing until this problem is taken care of?

Asked on May 6, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't, and your agent is right. This would not be considered a "material" or important breach of the contract, given the cost and impact of a basketball hoop vs. the value and cost of the home as a whole. An immaterial, or not important, breach like this does not let you delay or hold off on performance under the contract--that is, it is not grounds to delay the close. Only a material or important breach would be. This is grounds to sue in small small court for the cost to replace the pole and hoop, if you deem doing so worthwhile.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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