Land Law V – Fixtures and Chattels

In Reynolds v Ashby and Son Limited (1903) the lessee of a property (a 99 year lease or a leasehold property, there are usually two types of properties, freehold and leasehold (properties than are leased for 99 years, normally from the time of construction) erected a factory on the property and purchased some machines under a hire purchase agreement. He had the machines affixed to the floor of the factory with bolts.

There was evidence to suggest that the machines would have worked even if they were not affixed to the floor but it was better to have the machines bolted to prevent movement caused by vibration.

The lessee then mortgaged the property and defaulted on the mortgage. The question before the courts was whether the machines were fixtures, in which case the mortgagee was entitled to them or if they remained as chattels as per the hire purchase agreement, in which case the owner could take them back.

It was held that the machines had become fixtures. Lord Lindley – “The purpose for which the machines were obtained and fixed seems to me unmistakable; it was to complete and use the building as a factory. It is true that the machines could be removed if necessary, but the concrete beds and bolts prepared for them negative any idea of treating the machines when fixed as movable chattels.”

Copyright © 2019 by Dyarne Jessica Ward

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