What if you inherit items when you purchase a property?

buying property in southend on seaWe regularly receive cards and calls from happy clients after they have moved into their new properties in Southend. As well as thanking us for our help, we sometimes hear comical anecdotes of strange, unwanted items being left by the previous owners. So if you ‘inherit’ certain bits and pieces, where do you stand when it comes to ownership of the goods?

The law is subtle when it comes to the acquisition of unexpected items when buying a house in Southend. If a vendor leaves something behind like a packed box which was clearly supposed to be on the removals van, you can’t simply seize the contents: you have a duty to contact the vendor and invite him to claim it by a certain date; if they fail to meet the deadline, the goods become yours.

If, on the other hand, you dig up something valuable in the garden, of which the previous owners were unaware, the property comes under the laws of treasure trove. If it's gold or an item of historic interest and deliberately buried, then the Crown has a claim on the property (but will pay you compensation); if, on the other hand, the cache was simply lost or forgotten by a previous owner, then it’s yours.

When you do move into your new property in Southend, you could find the previous owners have deliberately left behind certain items they simply don’t need any more. Such possessions often include white goods, especially when occupants are moving into a new property with integrated kitchen appliances. If items are in good condition, consider donating them to the Essential Living Fund. This is a grant system, delivered by Southend-on-Sea borough Council which provides vital support to those in need. Good quality items are also often collected free of charge, saving you the job of organising removal.

Sadly, for most homebuyers, items left behind by previous owners are rarely wanted: moth-eaten old bed ends, for instance, which the removal men couldn't manoeuvre through the door, or piles of rubble which were never removed after building works.

If you inspect a property for sale in Southend prior to completion and find it full of rubbish you can refuse to complete the purchase until the offending items are removed; if however, like most people, you are too busy clearing out your own old house to visit the new one just before completion, then you are deemed to be the legitimate new owner of that rusty old bicycle in the shed or those sheets of corrugated asbestos in the garage. If that does happen to you, let’s hope you find cash in the attic, rather than rubbish in the garden.

Lisa Clark is Sales Manager at Pace Plc, an independent Estate Agency in Southend on Sea. She deals with every aspect of the sales process, providing expert and honest advice together with tailor-made marketing plans for each property she lists for sale.

She prides herself on providing excellent customer service and takes a highly proactive approach to achieving the best possible price and sale time for our clients in an increasingly competitive property marketplace.

Pace Sales


"I am a landlady with many properties and have dealt with Pace for about 10 years. Marcus is very friendly, honest, efficient and helpful and has made my letting experience extremely easy always finding me suitable tenants. I have nothing but praise for Marcus who has been with Pace many years.

Mary R

After renovating a block of 21 flats to place into our rental portfolio we instructed PACE and gave them two weeks to let all the units on a sole agency basis. Within a month all the flats were filled with suitable tenants. PACE delivered and exceeded our expectations.

Runwood Homes Director

As a landlord with multiple HMO properties, I have employed the services of PACE for a number of years now as they ensure I have my required specification of tenant placed in all my rooms. I only let rooms to employed applicants and very much favour their opening hours as this attracts and accommodates the right people.

Johnathon Simons HMO Landlord

Sara is my dedicated property manager and has been for some time. I have always found Sara to be a professional member of staff who always keeps me informed and provides regular visit reports, which is important to me. She deals with any problem that befalls her, contacting me if required. Sara will discuss any problem and invariably come to a solution. 

Raymond Durrant – multi property landlord

The staff are always friendly and helpful, my special thanks to Sara, we have built a very special rapport and I feel very comfortable phoning if I need anything. I feel very happy that I have one person to deal with all of my issues.

Evelin Jenkins - Tenant

We cannot stress how much we appreciate having a dedicated property manager. We live 350 miles away and also spend a great deal of the winter out of the country.  We have used Pace for a number of years and have never been disappointed with the level of service we receive.

Peter and Maureen Mason – Multi property landlords

I was extremely thankful I chose PACE to conduct the sale of my property and extremely grateful to Sue Mellor who worked very hard to ensure a smooth transaction. She was most knowledgeable and professional throughout, always reachable and approachable. She was able to answer all the questions I posed.

Yvonne White

I've recently purchased a property with the help of Pace. I found the staff extremely helpful and friendly. My first contact was Katie, she showed me around the property and liaised with the vendor. After, I dealt mostly with Sue Mellor. She was very knowledgeable and helpful. She kept me informed throughout the process and was the first to congratulate me on completion.

Roni Miller

I just thought I'd drop you a line about Adele who is managing my flat. Adele is doing a great job and is a credit to Pace. She has done, and continues to do, exactly what she says she will do and as a customer that is exactly what I want. Adele doesn't take things at face value and investigates things when she needs to, again a thing that clients will prize.

Tony Mihill - Landlord

Thank you to the team at PACE for firstly providing excellent property management services over many years and secondly for helping me to sell my property recently. All your hard work has been very much appreciated. Special mentions to Sara, Amy, Sue and Billy for their friendly and professional service!

Charlotte, (Property Management & Seller)