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A tenant’s right to remove its fixtures

17 February 2014

The Court of Appeal has held that the tenant of a long lease of a steel works which it had constructed was not entitled to remove large items of plant and machinery during the term of the lease.

The High Court had previously held that the items in question were tenant’s fixtures, which a tenant can remove unless the lease says otherwise. The Court of Appeal decided that the language of a particular lease must be considered. If the court arrives at a “confident conclusion” that the parties’ intention was to oust the tenant’s right to remove its fixtures, that will be the effect. The tenant’s initial obligation in this lease to construct the steel works, combined with a clause which prohibited the tenant from making any alterations to the premises, was sufficient evidence in this case.

This case is a useful reminder that just because an item was installed by a tenant, it does not necessarily follow that the tenant can remove it.

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