FACTS

The seller’s home contained one particular smart device that was operated by a tablet.

ISSUE:  Upon the sale of the home, must the tablet be conveyed to the buyer, or can the seller take it with them?

ANSWER

See Discussion.

DISCUSSION:

The answer depends on whether the smart device is operated via an app that can be installed on any phone, iPad, tablet, etc., or whether the tablet is dedicated to that piece of equipment, meaning its sole purpose is to operate the device.

The February 2020 Residential Resale Real Estate Purchase Contract, Section 1g, states that affixed smart home devices constitute fixtures that convey with the home, “access to which shall be transferred.” Section 1g also states that means to operate fixtures, such as remote controls, shall convey.

The majority of smart home devices are operated via an app. In such cases, the buyer can download the app on any phone, iPad, tablet, etc., meaning that the tablet used by the seller need not convey. However, if the tablet itself is needed to operate the smart home device, it must convey to the buyer.