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Buckland v Butterfield 129 ER 878 (1820)

Whether a conservatory attached to a property could be considered a fixture

Facts

It should be noted that the application of this judgment, given the subsequent case law on the matter of the distinction between fixtures and chattels, is very limited. A tenant had erected a conservatory on her house which was attached to the house and had windows opening into the conservatory and a flue passing into the parlour chimney. The lease was assigned and the issue arose as to whether, because the conservatory might be considered as purely decorative, it could be removed as a chattel. Evidence was produced which suggested that the house would suffer significant damage and part would become uninhabitable if the conservatory was removed.

Issue

The issue in this context was whether a conservatory attached to a house took the form of a fixture and remained part of the house or a chattel and could be removed and whether it was relevant that the removal would cause significant damage to the property.

Held

It was held, that although there was authority finding that ornamental attachments made by tenants could lawfully be removed from a property, none of this authority related directly to a structure such as the conservatory at issue. It was important therefore, that the facts of each case should be considered individually and therefore authority for a particular point, even on similar facts, may be difficult to find. On these facts, because it was considered that the removal of the conservatory would cause significant damage to the property, it was the case that the conservatory was annexed to it and therefore would be considered a fixture and could not be removed.


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