Thermostat: A Fixture or Chattel (Ontario)

By
Commercial Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)

Thermostat: A Fixture or Chattel

Question:

Is it okay for a seller to switch out the Nest Thermostat before closing if it isn't mentioned in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale?

Answer:

The real issue here is whether the thermostat is a fixture or chattel. If it’s a fixture, it stays. If it’s simply a chattel, then the Sellers may take it with them.

The problem arises because this is an upgraded replacement part. It costs several hundred dollars and the original one that the builder installed is still in the basement.

What was the purpose of the thermostat?

  1. Was it affixed to the wall so that it could be better displayed as a thermostat (just like a picture)?
  2. Did it become an integral part of the heating system of the house? Is it necessary for the proper functioning of the heating system? If that’s the case, then it’s a fixture.

In this case, you can’t operate the heating system of the house without it. Obviously, it was installed to assist with the “house as a house”, rather than the simple display of the unit as for example a “work of art”.

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Home Buying
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