Landlord’s fixture or tenant’s chattel: whose plant is it anyway?

In Peel Land and Property (Ports No. 3) Ltd v TS Sheerness Steel Ltd, a heavy industrial plant that had been installed by a tenant pursuant to an obligation under the lease did not belong to the landlord and could be removed by the tenant. The fact that the items were heavy and bulky and that removal would be complicated did not mean that the items could not, in law, be removable tenants’ fixtures. This is a very important case for tenants who have ceased to trade from a site.

In the first instance, the court found in favour of the tenant and declared that the tenant was entitled to proceed as it wished. Therefore it denied the landlord a final injunction preventing the tenant from removing the equipment. The landlord is appealing, and the appeal is due to be heard in late 2013/early 2014. In the meantime, the landlord has applied for an interim injunction to prevent the tenant from removing the equipment until the hearing of the appeal.

The court found that there would be no prejudice to the landlord, but that the tenant would suffer loss, and therefore refused to grant the injunction…

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