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Tenants, these are fixtures and, no, you can’t remove them

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The day you viewed your soon-to-be rental home you noticed that some things that you had gotten used to in your previous home were not in your intended new home. Things like a ceiling fan in the main bedroom, a glass shower panel and shower rose in the bath for when you didn’t have time for a bath, a satellite dish and a television bracket on the wall for your flat-screen TV.

So, a month after moving in, you decided to “upgrade” the home out of your own pocket: You started with a satellite dish because, you know, SABC! The next month you bought and installed a ceiling fan as it was summer and you battled to sleep comfortably at night. In month three you purchased a new glass panel for the bath and shower rose and got your dad in to help install them; he even brought along his old TV bracket, drilled 8mm holes, and helped you mount your precious TV.

Of course, while all of this was going on, you purchased a few plants and pots, art works for the walls and book shelf, new curtains and table runners. It was beginning to look, and feel, like home!

(Re)moving onmoving furniture to new house

After a year of living in the home you decided to give notice that you would not be renewing your lease. You had found love and had taken the big step of moving in with your boyfriend. But his one-bedroom flat was about as bare and characterless as Oppikoppi was a day after everyone had already left!

So, believing what is yours is yours, you removed the glass shower panel and shower rose, the ceiling fan, TV brackets and satellite dish. You know, to make your boyfriend’s pad comfortable.

At exit inspection time, your landlord asked about where the fixtures were that you had installed. You had taken them with you, of course!

Tenants, this is your ULTIMATE snag list

She then took out the lease agreement you had signed which stated that every item fixed to the property became the possession of the owner and would remain with the house. You didn’t even read the lease agreement; so you had no way to complain.

A week later, you received two comparative invoices your landlord had been quoted to reinstall a glass shower panel, shower head rose, ceiling fan and satellite dish. And guess what? All items’ prices had been increased because, you know, inflation – and they had labour costs added for installation!

Here’s what you should have donestepping stones

When you moved in you should have discussed with your landlord the changes you wanted to make; they were, after all, improvements to the property. You could have checked whether your landlord would have been prepared to reimburse you in full – or at least a portion – before spending your own money to make improvements to her property.

Believe it or not, most landlords do see the wood from the trees, and do recognise an improvement when they see one. Simply installing and removing – which leaves marks and holes in their wake – is the incorrect approach. If you knew your landlord would say no to the fixtures, you should simply not have carried them out.

Not sure what a fixture is?satellite dish

These are the most common fixtures

  1. Satellite dishes
  2. TV aerials
  3. Ceiling fans

  4. Light fixtures
  5. TV wall brackets
  6. Shelves
  7. Water features
  8. Kitchen cabinets
  9. Built-in cupboards
  10. Pelmets
  11. Burglar proofing and gates

  12. Alarm systems and outdoor beams
  13. Outdoor wall-mounted or “planted” clothes lines
  14. Extra outdoor lighting
  15. Garden planted trees and shrubs (if you don’t want to leave your plants behind, plant them in pots instead)

Sick of renting? Buy your own home and keep all your fixtures

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David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Review overview
  • Craig Kruger 27th September 2018

    When i inspected the premises for rent , the owner informed that the dstv aerial was in working order , although he did not make use of it. Upon moving in , we found out that there was no signal. He referred me to an installer. The installer found that all cables , LNB and the dish were so badly corroded that it had to be replaced. The owner informed that he had no money to replace the aerial. I said i would have a new one installed , and would require him to pay for it as an expectation of a working aerial had been created. He now refuses to re-imburse me. I want to retain that amount from my next rental payment. Am i entitled to do so – or how do i remedy this?

  • Serena Casa Viva 19th February 2019

    Hey! great post, I feel…….because I am also a tenant.