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Elitestone Ltd v Morris [1997] 1 WLR 687

Freeholder seeking possession; whether wooden chalet bungalow resting on concrete pillars was a chattel.

Facts

Freeholders issued proceedings for possession against Mr Morris who occupied a bungalow on the freehold land. The bungalow was situated on top of concrete blocks but was not attached to them. The blocks were attached to the freehold land. Mr Morris sought a declaration that the chalet bungalow was land for the purposes of the Rent Act 1977 and, as such, he was entitled to the protections afforded to tenants under the statute.

Issues

It was accepted by both parties that if the bungalow amounted to a chattel then the tenancy would not fall within the protections afforded by s1 Rent Act 1977, whereas if it amounted to a fixture, then Mr Morris would hold a protected tenancy for the purposes of the statute. The freeholders argued the bungalow did not amount to land because it was not attached to the land in any way but merely rested on concrete blocks, which were attached to the land. Mr Morris argued the bungalow was sufficiently affixed to the land to form part of the land itself and he, therefore, was a protected tenant.

Held

The bungalow was land for the purposes of the Rent Act 1977 and Mr Morris was a protected tenant. The bungalow could not be removed either as an entire unit or in sections without being destroyed. Whether a structure becomes part of the land itself depends on the degree of annexation, and a house which cannot be moved without being destroyed cannot have been intended to be a chattel but must have been intended to form part of the land.


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