Land Law XVI – Fixtures and Chattels

In New Zealand Government Property Corp. v HM & S Ltd (1982) a tenant occupied a theater under a lease. The lease was granted in 1896 and the tenant had made the necessary renovations to make the premises suitable for the purpose it was leased. When the tenant vacated, the tenant removed the tenant fixtures.

The matter was brought before a judge and it was decided that where a tenant remains in possession of the items with the landlord’s consent or pursuant to a statutory provision, the tenant retains the right to remove the items when the tenant vacates.

Dunn L.J. – “If a tenant surrenders his lease and vacates the premises without removing the tenant’s fixtures, then he is held to have abandoned them. But if he surrenders his lease, either expressly or by operation of law, and remains in possession under a new lease, it is a question of construction of the instrument of surrender whether or not he has also given up his right to remove his fixtures. If nothing is said, then the common law rule applies, and he retains his right to remove the fixtures so long as he is in possession as a tenant”.

Copyright © 2019 by Dyarne Jessica Ward

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