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Elitestone v Morris [1997] 1 WLR 687  House of Lords

Elitestone purchased the freehold to the land on which Mr Morris’s bungalow (and 26 others)was situated. Elitesone wished to demolish the properties on the land with a view to redevelopment. Elitestone brought proceeding against all the residence seeking possession of the land. Mr Morris defended the action claiming protection under the Rent Acts. The Rent Act would only protect Mr Morris if the bungalow formed part of the realty. Elitestone argued that the bungalow was separate from the land since it rested on its own weight on concrete pillars and was not physically attached to the land.

Held:

Considering both the degree of annexation and object of annexation (Holland v Hodgson) the bungalow formed part of the realty.

Lord Lloyd:

“In the case of the house the answer is as much a matter of common sense as precise analysis. A house which is constructed in such a way so as to be removable, whether as a unit, or in sections, may well remain a chattel, even though it is connected temporarily to mains services such as water and electricity. But a house which is constructed in such a way that it cannot be removed at all, save by destruction, cannot have been intended to remain as a chattel. It must have been intended to form part of the realty…. I do not doubt that when Mr. Morris' bungalow was built, and as each of the timber frame walls were placed in position, they all became part of the structure, which was itself part and parcel of the land. The object of bringing the individual bits of wood onto the site seems to be so clear that the absence of any attachment to the soil (save by gravity) becomes an irrelevance.”

Back to lecture outline on fixtures and chattels in land law