Appurtenance Details

The word appurtenance can have different applications depending on the context. It is most commonly associated with real estate and refers to components attached to something of greater value. It thus becomes part of the latter. For example, an air conditioning unit would be an appurtenance attached to a house.

Any improvement to a property that has now become a part of it is considered an appurtenance. For example, any new water tank installations or wells dug for a house would become part of the property and its appurtenance. You can use it to refer to plots of land surrounding a home that is part of the property, including a backyard. It also describes the rights to natural resources such as minerals or oils found in the land.

Additionally, you can use appurtenance in the context of privilege, wealth, or celebrity. For example, items such as mansions, designer clothes, or sports cars would be considered an appurtenance that is part of a celebrity's assets or image. In psychology, the Gestalt theory uses the word appurtenance as the relationship between two factors directly influencing each other or the sense of belonging. It can describe someone belonging to a specific country, such as an American being from the United States.

Appurtenance Example

In real estate, appurtenance is anything that is part of the property or attached to a property permanently. You could not move it or keep it if you sold the property in a legal transaction. Examples of appurtenances include:

  • Fireplaces
  • Fences
  • Existing plants and crops
  • In-ground swimming pools
  • Installed cabinetry, window blinds, or ceiling fans
  • Exterior buildings such as sheds, barns, and outhouses
  • Natural resources such as minerals and water rights

Significance Of Appurtenance

It is significant to understand what an appurtenance to a property is if you are looking to sell or invest in real estate. Your usage and ownership rights will vary depending on whether something is appurtenance or not. The item must fulfill the following requirements for it to be appurtenant to the property:

  • Intended to be permanent
  • Attached using a permanent method
  • Easy to remove without causing damage

If you are renting, understanding the legal rights a property owner has regarding appurtenances is also important. If you update the property you are renting, you could be giving the property owner additional assets when you move and are not allowed to take those additions with you.

Types Of Appurtenance

Different examples of appurtenances have various sub-categories of their own appurtenances. For example, in real estate, pipe appurtenances include valves, insulation joints, and anchorages. Valves then have the following types:

  • Sluice valves or gate valves
  • Air valves
  • Blow off valves
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Reflux valves

History Of Appurtenance

In law, the word appurtenance can be dated back to a 1919 Cohen v. Whitcomb Supreme Court case in Minnesota. There was a dispute regarding who owned a water heater installed by the tenant. The court ruled that it belonged to the landlord even after the tenant moved out because it was appurtenant to the property. The court defined appurtenance as, "That which belongs to something else. Something annexed to another thing more worthy."

Appurtenance vs. Equipment

While some equipment that has now become part of a greater property can be considered an appurtenance, not all appurtenances are equipment. Equipment can also mean the necessary resources, whether physical or mental, to accomplish a particular purpose.

Appurtenance vs. Fixture

Both an appurtenance and fixture are installed in a property. However, an appurtenance must be installed permanently. You can install a fixture permanently or near-permanent. Additionally, if a tenant installs a fixture, they can remove and keep the fixture when they leave the property.

Appurtenance vs. Real Property

While both terms refer to items that are permanent within a property, there is a significant difference. An appurtenant is something that you can easily remove without causing damage to the property. In contrast, real property refers to an item that is impossible to remove without causing damage.