# 2016-144 - Relocation Expenses
F&R Date: 2016–09–29
The grievor requested that the appliances he replaced as part of the kitchen modernization project be considered as capital improvement (CI) expenditures. The grievor submitted that the intent behind article 8.2.10 of the CFIRP is to include anything and everything that could need to be replaced in order to completely modernize a kitchen and which remains with the house when it is sold.
The IA explained that while the CFIRP does not explicitly detail what is included as a CI eligible for reimbursement, the examples provided in the article imply that the items should be permanent structural improvements that increase the property's overall value and useful life, and therefore, a fridge and a stove could not be considered as such given that they are not permanently affixed to the house.
The Committee noted that, according to article 8.2.10 of the CFIRP: “The following is an all-inclusive list of eligible capital improvements: … Complete modernization – kitchen (new cupboards, countertops, sink, taps, etc)”. In order to determine if the grievor's stove and refrigerator could be considered CI like the cupboards, countertops and sink, it was therefore important to interpret the generic term “etc” of that article.
The Committee applied the three conditions of the ejusdem generis (limited class) interpretation rule and examined other sections of the CFIRP, and took into consideration the intent of the policy.
The Committee found that the grievor's appliances could not be considered CI as they were not part of an identifiable class inferred from the identified items (new cupboards, countertops, sink, taps). In other words, they would have had to be fixed or have a permanent structural condition. Considering the appliances CI would render the list of items meaningless, as one could argue that anything, from custom made blinds to a special coffee maker, could be regarded as a complete modernization of the kitchen.
The Committee recommended that the grievance be denied.
FA Decision Summary
The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied. He concurred that the term “etc” in the policy includes other items than those listed, but only if they are affixed or part of a permanent structure. He noted that items such as a refrigerator and stove can be removed at the time of sale and therefore should be classified as household effects, not capital improvements.
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