When you take a tour of a house that you want to buy, you expect that what you see is what you get unless the seller tells you otherwise. So if you decide to purchase the property only to find something is missing later on, you might think the seller had misled you. The problem is that the seller probably did not consider the missing item to be appurtenant.
If you have never heard of the concept of appurtenance, it is fairly simple. U.S. News and World Report explains that appurtenance is when a thing becomes a permanent component of a property. However, sometimes it is not clear what may count as appurtenant.
The temporary or permanent nature of an item
An important part of appurtenance is that an item should be a permanent part of the property. In other words, removing it might cause damage to the home or outside land. This can be the case for trees and plants as well as hedges and ornamentals. Interior items such as bathtubs and light fixtures usually also qualify.
However, some things are clearly temporary in nature. When they move out, sellers usually remove large electronics such as televisions from a home. A freestanding outdoor shower may also be temporary since a homeowner can easily remove it without the need for remodeling. Television antennas are another example, although they can become appurtenant if built into a part of the home such as a chimney.
Asking questions may clarify appurtenance
Appurtenance can extend to aspects of the property such as easements, which you may want to know about if you need one to access the home. Since appurtenance can be an unclear concept at times, asking your seller if anything on the property is going to stay or go may help you understand if purchasing the residence is the right move for you.