Land Law VIII – Fixtures and Chattels

In Pole-Carew v Western Counties and General Manure Co (1920) the defendant set up an artificial manure manufacturing factory on a plot of land that he’d lease. The lease had been renewed three times, and at the time of the first lease, or when he’d initially leased the property, the factory was not set up and was without any chattels.

By the time of the third lease however there was a complete factory, that was fully operational and most of the setting-up was done after the defendant had initially leased the property and from all accounts by the time of the first renewal or the second lease the factory was in place.

During the third lease, there was a fire that destroyed most of the equipment in the factory and the landlord claimed damages for the tenant’s or the defendant’s breach of repair, reinstatement and insurance agreements (covenants) and the defendant argued that the factory and equipment were chattels or “tenant fixtures” (the tenant has a right to remove certain fixtures and these fixtures are known as tenant fixtures. At law tenant fixtures belong to the landlord until the tenant exercises the right to remove them) and that being the case the factory and the equipment fell outside the scope of the agreements (covenants).

It was decided that the entire structure and everything in it or everything that was attached to it formed one single unit and therefore neither the factory nor the equipment could be regarded as chattels. The unit was firmly embedded to the land and that being the case it could not be a tenant fixture and must be regarded as something that was permanently annexed to the freehold or the land i.e., a fixture.

Copyright © 2019 by Dyarne Jessica Ward

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