As you delve deeper into the world of real estate, you’ll come across numerous terms that are specific to this field. One term that you’ll encounter frequently is “appurtenances.” While the concept might initially seem overwhelming, it is easy to understand. Moreover, it plays an essential role in property ownership and truthful advertising. This blog post will discuss appurtenances, their definition, and how they relate to the broader real estate profession.
What is the Definition of an Appurtenance?
Appurtenances refer to additions to a house that have become permanent, such as improvements or rights that become a permanent part of the entity at large. These additions are considered part of the property transaction. They are often seen as an added bonus when purchasing a new house. Therefore, they are recognized as a part of the larger entity. They cannot be temporary items or pieces of equipment that belong to an individual.
According to the exact definition of appurtenance, they are “property rights or items that are permanent and are passed along with the sale of the property.” By categorizing parts of the property as appurtenances, real estate transactions become much easier since these additions do not have to be separated from the property itself, which can lead to additional paperwork and expenses.
History of Appurtenances in Real Estate
Appurtenances became a defined term in the profession of real estate after the Cohen v. Whitcomb case in 1919. A heated debate occurred about whether a hot water heater, which the tenant installed, would still be owned by them or if it was now part of the property at large. Ultimately, the court decided that the hot water heater, classified as a “repair” and “improvement” to the property, now became a permanent part of the property itself and was technically owned by the landlord.
Can Appurtenances Be Removed?
For something to be classified as an appurtenance, it must be fixed to the building rather than being something that can easily be removed or replaced. If removing the item would cause a considerable amount of damage to the property, it would be considered an appurtenance. The permanence of the addition to the property is essential, and it is where the term can become a little gray and vague in its definition.
For example, while fences are considered appurtenances, they need to be fixed to the land, and removing them would cause damage to the soil outside of the house. Therefore, a baby fence placed by the stairs that can be picked up and moved around is not considered an appurtenance. Similarly, if an antenna has been attached to a chimney and has become installed to the chimney itself, it would be classified as an appurtenance, and removing it would cause damage.
Examples Of Appurtenances
Common examples of additions and repairs to a home that would be classified as appurtenances include