An appurtenance is something lesser that is attached to something larger. In law, this term is often used in the context of real estate. One can be physical or intangible in nature, and it becomes attached to something else by law or by convention. Sometimes, people may refer to something “with appurtenances” as a reminder that there are things attached. People should take note of any attachments that go with something because they can affect its utility, function, or value.
In real estate, a physical appurtenance is something attached to a property that is of lesser value than the property itself. One example is a shed on a property holding a single family home. The shed goes with the property and is considered part of it, which means that it will not be removed when the property is sold. Other examples are things like garages, septic systems, wells, water storage tanks, and so forth.
Such attachments can also be things that are intangible in nature, such as easements. An easement gives someone else the legal right of enjoyment and is attached to a property in the same way that something physical like a well is. For example, a driveway easement is an appurtenance. When the property is sold, the easement goes with it. In this case, the attachment to the property is provided for the convenience of someone else, but the property owner is expected to respect it.
When evaluating real estate for purchase or rental, people should take note of the appurtenances. For example, someone renting a unit should ask if it comes with appliances, such as a stove and refrigerator, or not. If it does, they are considered attached to the home being leased and the landlord is responsible for maintaining them. If it does not, the tenant is expected to provide them and the landlord takes no responsibility for their installation and upkeep.
People purchasing property should be aware of what does and does not come with it, and some of these things can be negotiable. For example, a buyer could ask that a portable shed be left on the property as part of the sales agreement. Conversely, a buyer could ask that something attached to the property be removed as a condition of sale, or that the buyer be given a discount to handle the disposition of something that is attached to the property.