It has long been a bone of contention as to whether a fixture to property is movable or whether it has become part of the immovable property by virtue of attachment.
Our courts have laid down the following principles to be applied in determining whether an object is a fixture or not:
- The intention of the annexor
- The manner in which the object was annexed
- Nature and purpose of the attached object.
To ascertain whether a satellite dish is movable or immovable one must apply the above principles and it is abundantly clear that both the purchaser and the seller have sound grounds to argue that it is either movable or immovable. These grounds for argument will not be entertained here, but caution must prevail to eradicate any uncertainty as to whether the satellite dish may be removed or must remain as a fixture.
Given the uncertainty that prevails, it is important that parties to a sale contractually determine what should happen to the satellite dish.
The parties should thus take the following steps in concluding any contract of sale:
- If the seller wishes to remove the satellite dish and not leave such on the property, the seller should clearly disclose this fact to both the state agent ant the purchaser to avoid any perception that the dish will remain.
- The contract of sale should specifically regulate the fact that the dish is excluded from the contract of sale.
The satellite dish is but one of the bones of contention that might arise in the sale of fixed property. There are numerous other fixtures such as the pelmets, creepy crawlies, bar stools, bathroom mirrors etc. which could also lead to unnecessary litigation if not adequately addressed in the deed of sale.
Tonkin Clacey Pretoria
Tel: 012 346 1278