(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 precision what constitutes an annexation sufficient for this purpose. It is a question which must depend on the circumstances of each case, and mainly on two circumstances, as indicating the intention, viz., the degree of annexation and the object of the annexation. When the article in question is no further attached to the land, then by its own weight it is generally to be considered a mere chattel; see Wiltshire -v- Cottrell (1 EandB 674; 22LJ (QB) 177) and the cases there cited. But even in such a case, if the intention is apparent to make the articles part of the land, they do become part of the land: see D’Eyncourt -v- Gregory. (Law Rep 3 Eq 382) Thus blocks of stone placed on the top of another without any mortar or cement for the purpose of forming a dry stone wall would become part of the land, though the same stones, if deposited in a builder’s yard and for convenience sake stacked on the top of each other in the form of a wall, would remain chattels. On the other hand, an article may be very firmly fixed to the land, and yet the circumstances may be such as to shew that it was never intended to be part of the land, and then it does not become part of the land. The anchor of a large ship must be very firmly fixed in the ground in order to bear the strain of the cable, yet no one could suppose that it became part of the land, even though it should chance that the shipowner was also the owner of the fee of the spot where the anchor was dropped. An anchor similarly fixed in the soil for the purpose of bearing the strain of the chain of a suspension bridge would be part of the land. Perhaps the true rule is, that articles not otherwise attached to the land than by their own weight are not to be considered as part of the land, unless the circumstances are such as to shew that they were intended to be part of the land, the onus of shewing that they were so intended lying on those who assert that they have ceased to be chattels, and that, on the contrary, an article which is affixed to the land even slightly is to be considered as part of the land, unless the circumstances are such as to shew that it was intended all along to continue a chattel, the onus lying on those who contend that it is a chattel. This last proposition seems to be in effect the basis of the judgment of the Court of Common Pleas delivered by Maule J., in Wilde -v- Waters. (16 CB 637; 24 LJ (CP) 193) This, however, only removes the difficulty one step, for it still remains a question in each case whether the circumstances are sufficient to satisfy the onus. In some cases, such as the anchor of the ship or the ordinary instance given of a carpet nailed to the floor of a room, the nature of the thing sufficiently shews it is only fastened as a chattel temporarily, and not affixed permanently as part of the land.’
(1872) LR 7 CP 328
Cited – Wiltshear v Cottrell 1854
A wooden granary was not a fixture. When an article is no further attached to the land, then by its own weight it is generally to be considered a mere chattel. . .
Cited – D’Eyncourt v Gregory (No 1) 1866
If the intention is apparent to make the articles part of the land, they become part of the land. Sculptures which simply rested by their own weight were held to form part of the architectural design for the hall in which they were placed and so . .
Cited – Deen v Andrews 1986
Land was sold. The parties disputed whether a greenhouse was included.
Held: It was a large greenhouse consisting of a sectional frame bolted to a large concrete base. ‘Building’ was to be given the meaning ascribed by s62 of the 1925 Act. The . .
Cited – Elitestone Ltd v Morris and Another HL 1-May-1997
The plaintiff acquired land on which 27 chalets were erected. They served notice to quit so that the site could be developed. The defendants argued that they had residential tenancies with protection under the Rent Act 1977.
Held: The tenants’ . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Chelsea Yacht and Boat Club Ltd v Pope CA 6-Apr-2000
The tenant sought to assert that he occupied a houseboat, the Dinty Moore, under a tenancy of a dwellinghouse under the 1988 Act. The claimant appealed a decision that it was.
Held: A house-boat, even though used as a dwelling, did not have . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.240408