Laura the impression that all the contents
Laura has purchased a new property from Stevenand was disappointed to find some items were missing upon moving in. Whether ornot Laura has a claim against Steven is based on if the items in the propertyare to be deemed as Fixtures or Fittings (Chattel). Does Laura have rightfulownership of whatever was part of the property Purchased? Before purchasing the property, Laura wasunder the impression that all the contents of the property would remain thesame, However, there are different opinions to this point of view.
Laura mayhave a claim against Steven regarding the purchase of her property and what wasmeant to be included upon purchase. Laura’s initial response to her newpurchase was that there were some items that are missing from the property. Thiscase demonstrates the idea of fixtures and fittings (chattels).
“Fittings, which are also knownas Chattels are itemsthat are personal property. It is a principle of land law that any chattels attached to land, become partof the land and are known as fixtures(where it becomes part of the land).” Laura has purchased the AshGreen Manorproperty from Steven, making her the legal owner to the property. We must firstidentify the relevant facts of the case, as to what can be regarded as propertyof the current land owner (Laura) and what is the property of the previousowner. The items in question are a sundial which has been removed from theproperty, the wooden shed from the garden, which has been destroyed. Also, a Muralpainting that had been painted by a famous artist, Turnsborough, which had been replaced bybreeze bricks. The Law of Property Act (1925) has a few points that can be used to address thiscase matter.
It mentions that when a piece of land is transferred to an ownervia conveyancing; it will include all the fixtures that come with the land.However, when something is a fitting (chattel)it can be difficult to distinguish whether it will come as part of the land.This idea has been translated into case law such as the case of Botham V TSB plc (1997) 73p & CRD1. What Steven has done in terms of him removingall those items in the property before leaving the property to Laura is similarto the case of Botham V TSB plc (1997)73p & CRD1, where Botham removed all the items before the bank couldtake any of them away. Botham even removed the kitchen. The Judge’s decision wasthat the kitchen, Bath and toilets were fittings.
Curtains, lights, ornamentsand appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines) were chattels. LordJustice Judge Rosh stated that a room wouldn’t be regarding as a kitchenwithout the units. The fixtures of the units are what create the purpose of theroom. Judge Rosh set out indicators when deciding on whether or not an itemcould be removed without damaging a property, and whether or not it was a free-standingitem or was a part of the building. Thesundial that was present at theAsh green property served its purpose of telling the time.
However, uponremoving it, it no longer has that that function. The sundial is a chattel asit was removed from the property without causing and damage to the building. Itmay be seen as a personal item of Steven. Lord Blackburn’s statement of the degree of annexationand purpose of annexation supports the idea of having a meaning behind afixture/fitting.This has been set out in case law,specifically that of Holland v Hodgson (1972) LR 7 CP328 – Where lord justice Blackburn said that there are two tests.One is the degree and two is the object test (purpose) The idea is about why anobject is there in the space that it is present, and if it will increase thevalue of the land. Then you would lookat if they are a fixture or fittings (Chattel). Then you must look at thepurpose of the object.
The wooden Shed at AshGreen manor could be seen as a “part”of the land, because once it is removed, it causes damage to the land on whichit was originally situated. It is a fixture. This issue case can becorresponded with a later case known as Elitestoneand Morris (1997) 1–The occupants of a bungalow as tenants. Lord Justice Lloyd went through thecase.
He stated that he found the definition of fixtures and fittings confusingin the context of a building or house. He mentioned the two tests as a “Partand Parcel”. The case supports the idea of “degree of annexation” as its showsthatThemissing Mural Painting that had been replacedby bricks is also to be regarded as a fixture and not a chattel as it became apart of the property’s value. Laura expected the mural to be there uponpurchasing the property. However, to her demise it had been removed andreplaced. The mural Painting by the famous artist that was inside the AshGreenManor Can Be related to the case of TheCreative Foundation v. Dreamland Leisure 2015 EWHC 2556 (Ch)– The creative foundation made a claim over dreamlandleisure LTD. The tenant dreamland Leisure removed the Banksy Painting once thetenancy agreement had ended without the permission of the landlord.
If you canremove something without damaging the land it then becomes a chattel. However,in this case it caused damage to the property and therefore would be regardedas a fitting, as mentioned by Lord Blackburn’s 2 points; “1) the degree ofannexation and 2) the purpose of annexation.” So, Laura has the right to make acase regarding the removal of the famous painting by Steven. It is especially important thatwe can properly distinguish the idea of what makes a fixture and what makes achattel; when there is a transfer in ownership of the property. Any items thatare fixtures will inadvertently belongto the transferee.
(i.e. in the case of Laura, any fixtures of Ash Green willbe transferred to her). If the land issold, then the ownership of the fixtureswill be transferred to the new land owner, as soon as the contract of the salehas become binding (conveyancing). Once the sale has become binding, the seller will no longer be legallyallowed to remove these items from the property.
The items of the propertyonce identified can then be placed with the rightful owners. Steven is in thewrong for not informing Laura on the status of what was happening with theproperty and what was changed. I believe that Laura had a right to create aclaim against Steven as the Wooden Shed was supposed be present at theproperty, as it was in fact a fixture (caused a change to the land it wassituated on). Also, the Famous mural painting on the walls of the propertyadded value to the property.
Therefore, it should not have been removed andreplaced with bricks, As Steven had no legal authorization to remove the shedand the famous mural painting as the contract sale had already become binding.He was avertedly in the wrong for not informing Laura of the changes as she hadbecome the rightful owner of the property. Laura,can make a claim against Steven on the basis that said items (the wooden shed,as well as the mural painted by the famous artists) to be gone were in factfixtures.