Land Law IX – Fixtures and Chattels

In Vaudeville Electric Cinema v Muriset (1923), the mortgagor owned and operated a cinema which he’d mortgaged to a bank and he subsequently defaulted on the repayments, and the bank sought to repossess the cinema in lieu of the arrears or the outstanding payments. The issue before the courts was whether four items were to be regarded as chattels or fixtures. The items were: –

  • The cinema screen which was fixed by blocks to the wall
  • Two oil paintings that were on the walls of the hall
  • Four advertising boards fastened outside the walls and attached with screws to the hall post, and
  • 477 plush cushioned, tip-up seats, attached to the floor

It was held that all the items, though removable were to be regarded as permanent features of the building and were part of the ordinary equipment of the building for the purpose which the building was used and therefore were permanent fixtures.

The cinema must have a screen in which to project images on, the paintings form part of the decoration, and the advertising boards outside were attached to the building and form part of the permanent structure. As for the seats, though it is possible to hire them for a short twelve-week period, the seats in question had been in the cinema for a lot longer than that.

Copyright © 2019 by Dyarne Jessica Ward

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