Tag Archives: real estate law

Evictions – If a tenant installs a fixture does it become the property of the landlord?

When a tenant installs an item in an apartment, such as track lighting, a chandelier, cabinetry, etc., which item is removable, but is attached to the wall, ceiling or floor of the premises, the installed item is known as a “fixture.”   The standard rule in real estate law is that a fixture becomes a permanent improvement to the premises and may not be removed without the consent of the owner of the premises.  However, in the area of landlord tenant law the courts generally have a bias in favor of allowing a tenant to remove a fixture when the tenant vacates an apartment; although that bias is conditioned upon there being no material damage caused to the premises by the removal of the fixture.  If the landlord wants the fixture to remain then the landlord must show that the tenant intended or agreed that the fixture would remain at the premises.  Additionally, or alternatively, if the landlord can show that the removal of the fixture would cause material damage to the premises then the court will likely not allow the removal of the fixture unless the tenant pays for the necessary restoration of the unit after the removal of the fixture.  So, in the area of landlord tenant law the general rule is if a fixture can be removed without causing any material damage to the premises then the fixture may be removed, unless the landlord can show it was intended by the tenant that the fixture become a permanent part of the premises or that the removal will cause material damage to the premises. 

I advise all tenants to first check with their landlords before installing a fixture.   Indeed, most written tenancy agreements require the landlord’s advance approval to install a fixture.   The landlord and the tenant should then enter into a written agreement to establish whether the fixture will stay or go when the tenant moves out.

At Topkins & Bevans we have years of experience in handling commercial and residential evictions on behalf of landlords as well as tenants.   If you have need of an eviction attorney please contact Topkins & Bevans so that a skilled attorney may assess your case and guide you through the process

When is an Offer to Purchase a P&S? The answer, Almost Always!

Many people that deal with real estate on a daily basis do not realize the ramifications of a signed Offer to Purchase Real Estate (the “Offer”). If the Offer meets the requirements of the Statute of Frauds, the parties intend to be bound and the other essential contract terms are present, presto, you have a Purchase and Sale Agreement or an enforceable contract to purchase real estate (“P&S”).

1 The Requirements of the Statute of Frauds:

A contract for the sale of land must be in writing and signed by the parties or an authorized agent of the parties. The parties would be the buyer and seller. Make sure the record owner of the property is signing the Offer. The property must be described so that it can be identified.

Compliance with the Statute of Frauds does not necessarily require a purchase price, a time to complete the transfer or the quality of title that has to be conveyed Inflatable Arches.

2. Intention to be Bound:

It is not sufficient to make the offer contingent upon the execution of a P&S. If the parties do not want to have the Offer become a P&S, they must include language that is similar to “this offer is intended only as a memorandum of the anticipated agreement and the parties do not intend to be bound but its terms.” The inclusion of this language may not be enough for a court to find that the Offer was a P&S but it gives you a much stronger argument.

3. Essential Contract Terms

The parties are indentified, purchase price, title condition and a closing date. In certain cases even these terms have been determined to be non-essential. Most of the Standard Offers used contain all of the essential terms and a binding agreement will be found. So if you are completing an Offer to Purchase assume it can be determined to be a P&S. If you assume this you must make sure that all of the anticipated terms of the transaction are included.

Your continued conduct and actions will also determine your ability to enforce the contract. If you do not comply with all of the terms of the offer your ability to enforce the Offer as a P&S will be significantly negatively impacted.

So before you execute that Offer make sure you have met with and discussed it with an attorney that will be representing your interests as a buyer or seller, we recommend that you contact us Topkins and Bevans.