Botham and others v TSB Bank Plc: CA 30 Jul 1996

A flat had been repossessed by the bank. The parties disputed whether items were fixtures and charged with the land or not.
Held: The judge had correctly analysed and applied the law of fixtures and fittings. The appeal failed save to a limited extent. ‘The tests, in the case of an item which has been attached to the building in some way other than simply by its own weight, seem to be the purpose of the item and the purpose of the link between the item and the building. If the item viewed objectively, is, intended to be permanent and to afford a lasting improvement to the building, the thing will have become a fixture. If the attachment is temporary and is no more than is necessary for the item to be used and enjoyed, then it will remain a chattel. Some indicators can be identified. For example, if the item is ornamental and the attachment is simply to enable the item to be displayed and enjoyed as an adornment that will often indicate that this item is a chattel. Obvious examples are pictures. But this will not be the result in every case; for example ornamental tiles on the walls of kitchens and bathrooms. The ability to remove an item or its attachment from the building without damaging the fabric of the building is another indicator. The same item may in some areas be a chattel and in others a fixture. For example a cooker will, if free standing and connected to the building only by an electric flex, be a chattel But it may be otherwise if the cooker is a split level cooker with the hob set into a work surface and the oven forming part of one of the cabinets in the kitchen. ‘ As to fitted carpets attached by grippers, they were not fixtures, and nor were white goods in the kitchen. Though part of a decoraive scheme of they wre not sufficiently attached.
Sir Richard Scott VC: There is, I think, some danger in applying too literally tests formulated for the purpose of decisions regarding machinery in factories to cases regarding articles in residences. There is a danger, also, in applying too literally tests formulated for the purpose of decisions regarding articles of ornamental value only to cases regarding articles whose prime function is utilitarian.
Sir Richard Scott VC, Roch LJ, Henry LJ
[1996] EWCA Civ 549
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBerkely v Poulett CA 1977
The court discussed the duties of a vendor to the property between exchange and completion: ‘These duties and rights [of a purchaser] arise from the contract of sale and it is because of their existence that the vendor is said to be a constructive . .
CitedHolland v Hodgson 1872
(Court of Exchequer Chamber) Blackburn J set out what constituted a fixture: ‘There is no doubt that the general maxim of the law is, that what is annexed to the land becomes part of the land; but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to say with . .
CitedLeigh v Taylor HL 6-Feb-2002
Valuable tapestries had been set up for display in a room in a stately home . They were first stretched over canvas and then tacked to the canvas. That canvas was then stretched over strips of wood and nailed to those strips of wood which in turn . .
Not followedYoung v Dalgety plc CA 1987
A decision had been made at first instance that fitted carpets were fixtures rather than fittings.
Held: The deision was not disturbed. . .
CitedBritish Economical Lamp Company (Ltd) v Empire Mile End (Ltd) and another 18-Apr-1913
Light fittings were not shown by the evidence to be part of the electrical installation in a flat, and therefore were not fixtures but fittings. . .
CitedHellawell v Eastwood 1851
In considering whether an article was a fitting and could be removed from its locaion, the court looked to the mode and extent of annexation of the articles: ‘The only question, therefore, is, whether the machines when fixed were parcel of the . .
CitedMelluish (Inspector of Taxes) v BMI (No 3) Ltd and Related Appeals HL 16-Oct-1995
Chattels which became affixed to a lessee’s land became fixtures, and were not available for tax allowances calculations. Lord Browne-Wilkinson said: ‘The terms expressly or implicitly agreed between the fixer of the chattel and the owner of the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 April 2021; Ref: scu.140416