Q&As

A residential flat lease stipulates that the tenant is not to alter the flat but may make internal non-structural alterations with landlord’s consent (not to be unreasonably withheld). The definition of premises/flat does not include reference to landlord's fixtures and fittings. Is the tenant able to replace the kitchen or bathroom in the flat without consent?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/04/2018

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A residential flat lease stipulates that the tenant is not to alter the flat but may make internal non-structural alterations with landlord’s consent (not to be unreasonably withheld). The definition of premises/flat does not include reference to landlord's fixtures and fittings. Is the tenant able to replace the kitchen or bathroom in the flat without consent?
  • Fixtures or fittings?
  • Tenant’s or landlord’s fixtures and fittings?
  • Part of demise or landlord’s fixtures?

The answer to this Q&A will depend on whether the components of the kitchen and bathroom are fixtures or fittings, and, if they are the former, whether they are landlord’s or tenant’s fixtures or have become part of the demise.

Fixtures or fittings?

Whether a chattel has been so affixed to the land or buildings as to become a fixture depends on the circumstances of each case, but mainly on two factors: the degree of annexation and the object and purpose of the annexation. If the chattel can be removed without doing irreparable damage to the premises, neither the method nor the degree of annexation, nor the quantum of damage that would be done to the chattel or to the premises by its removal, affects this Q&A save in so far as any of them throws light upon the object and purpose of the annexation. The mode of annexation is only one of the circumstances to be considered and it is not always the most important consideration.

In Botham v TSB (where the court had to decide which items were fixtures to which the mortgagee was entitled when taking possession), the Court of Appeal held that kitchen worktops were fixtures but that white goods (fridge, oven, etc) remained chattels even though they occupied spaces (eg under the worktop) specifically designed for them. The test of what one

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