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Lyon & Co v London City and Midland Bank [1903] 2 KB 135

The claimants hired out some seating to Mr Brammall for use in his cinema for a period of 12 weeks. The terms of the contract granted an option to purchase the chairs but this option was never exercised.  The local authority required the seating in the cinema to be fastened to the floor and therefore Mr Brammall fixed the chairs to the floor with screws.  Mr Brammall then mortgaged the cinema to the defendant bank and defaulted on payments. The defendants took possession of the cinema and the claimant brought an action for delivery up of the seating and damages for their wrongful detention. The defendants argued that the seating had become fixtures and therefore title had passed to them.

Held:

The chairs were chattels

Joyce J:

“No doubt a chattel on being attached to the soil or to a building prima facie becomes a fixture, but the presumption may be rebutted by showing that the annexation is incomplete, so that the chattel can be easily removed without injury to itself or to the premises to which it is attached, and that the annexation is merely for a temporary purpose and for the more complete enjoyment and use of the chattel as a chattel…. These chairs did not cease to be chattels on being screwed to the floor and the property in them did not pass to the defendants.”

Back to lecture outline on fixtures and chattels in land law