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Melluish v BMI (No. 3)  [1996] AC 454 House of Lords

The House of Lords were required to determine whether central heating in some council flats, a filter system in a council swimming pool , lifts in council car parks and cremators in a council crematorium were fixtures  belonging to the council or chattels belonging to the companies that leased them to the council.

Lord Browne-Wilkinson :

 "The terms expressly or implicitly agreed between the fixer of the chattel and the owner of the land cannot affect the determination of the question whether, in law, the chattel has become a fixture and therefore in law belongs to the owner of the soil: . . . The terms of such agreement will regulate the contractual rights to sever the chattel from the land as between the parties to that contract and, where an equitable right is conferred by the contract, as against certain third parties. But such agreement cannot prevent the chattel, once fixed, becoming in law part of the land and as such owned by the owner of the land so long as it remains fixed."
Back to lecture outline on fixtures and chattels in land law