Chattels and fixtures — remove or not

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Peel Land and Property (Ports No.3) Ltd v Sheerness Steel Ltd, decided in June, considers the classification of chattels and fixtures and the tricky distinction between those fixtures a tenant may or may not remove at the end of its lease.

The decision is a practical reminder of the importance of deciding, at the outset of a lease, which of the tenant’s fixtures should remain in place and which may be removed at the end of the term.

In Peel, the lease was granted in 1971 for a term of 125 years. The lease required the tenant to build a fully equipped steel-making plant and rolling mill, capable of producing at least 50,000 tonnes of steel a year. Removal of the plant by the tenant would be extremely complicated. It was estimated that the most significant items would take 12–18 months to remove, at a likely cost of £3–4m…

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