Fixture rules are often misunderstood but are fundamental in Oklahoma real estate law.

Whether you’re a homeowner, commercial property investor, or tenant, “fixtures” are an essential part of navigating property rights, transactions, and disputes effectively. You’ll want to know the legal definition of a fixture, understand the importance of fixtures in leases and transactions, and think through the contentious issues that fixtures can present between parties to a real estate agreement.

What is a fixture? What are fixtures?

A “fixture” refers to anything that is affixed to land or becomes an integral and permanent part of the real estate. Fixtures are items that were once personal property but have been attached or annexed to the land or a building in such a way that they are now considered part of the real property. The key distinction between fixtures and personal property lies in their attachment and permanence.

Fixtures are defined in Oklahoma law:

When a person affixes his property to the land of another without an agreement permitting him to remove it, the thing affixed belongs to the owner of the land, unless he chooses to require or permit the former to remove it: Provided, that a tenant may remove from the demised premises at any time during the continuance of his term any thing affixed thereto for purpose of trade, manufacture, ornament or domestic use, if the removal can be effected without injury to the premises, unless the thing has, by the manner in which it is affixed, become an integral part of the premises.

Title 60, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 334

Within Oklahoma’s uniform commercial code (UCC) provisions, goods become fixtures “when they become so related to particular real estate that an interest in them arises under real estate law“.

However, parties involved in real estate transactions should focus on the title 60 definition, rather than the UCC provisions. There can be some confusion over the meaning of a “fixture filing” for purposes of securing and perfecting a seller or financier’s interest in being repaid for the sale of a fixture if the UCC rules aren’t directly applicable to the situation.

What are some examples of fixtures?

Fixtures can be structural, decorative, pieces of technology, or more. Items like built-in appliances (such as ovens and dishwashers), light fixtures (such as chandeliers or wall sconces), and heating and cooling systems (air conditioning units or components of a HVAC system) are some common examples of fixtures in Oklahoma.

What are some items that would not be a fixture?

Items that can easily and customarily be removed will often not be defined as fixtures. Non-fixture examples would be couches, tables, mattresses and their bedframes, and silverware.

Implications of Fixtures in Real Estate Transactions

The treatment of fixtures holds significant implications for various parties involved in real estate transactions, including buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants. Here’s a closer look at how fixtures impact different scenarios:

  1. Property Sales and Purchases: Sellers should carefully consider which items are fixtures and which are not when listing their property for sale, and specifically mention which items will not be included in the sale. Similarly, Buyers should fully understand which fixtures are included in the sale to avoid misunderstandings and disputes with both the Seller and the Buyer’s lender. When in doubt, a detailed inventory of fixtures can be included in the purchase agreement to provide clarity. Learn more about residential real estate transactions and commercial real estate transactions in Oklahoma.
  2. Residential Lease Agreements: Landlords should specify within the lease agreement whether certain fixtures are provided and which tenant improvements must remain with the property at the end of the lease term. Tenants often mount televisions, lights, window treatments, and other items to the walls and ceilings of a leased space, which can lead to disputes if not carefully addressed in the written lease. There are also often fixture and physical damage claims involved in residential evictions.
  3. Commercial Lease Agreements: Commercial landlords should be extra careful to identify which items on or around a property should remain in place after the lease term ends. Certain types of commercial tenants, such as medical marijuana growers, must make significant improvements to a commercial property before their business needs are satisfied; this creates a large risk for dispute if the parties do not clearly communicate how to divide those improvements at the end of the relationship. Similar to residential evictions, commercial real estate evictions in Oklahoma courts frequently involve questions of whether a tenant’s improvements have become a fixture to the property.

Additional Fixture Considerations

Some other issues that give rise to fixture-related disputes are tenant improvements, foreclosure and repossession from a lender or financier, property damage and insurance claims coverage and rights, and business succession or estate inheritance.

Get Experienced Help with Fixture Matters

Contact the real estate attorneys at Avenue Legal Group for help resolving your fixture-related disagreement, representation in a lawsuit over fixtures, or to draft clear and concise leases, contracts, and notices regarding fixtures.



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