While the basic principles of the legal test were set out in Stack v. T. Eaton (1902), almost one century passed, before some further principles were popularized.
The fundamental issue was always the purpose of the intention behind affixation. So, that was just “mind-reading”. And, you couldn’t just ask the installer, because he was not around. Basically, the issue then became “if I were the installer, and affixed this object to the realty, what would my intention have been: leave it there, or come back and get it later”.
The assessment of the test had to be objective, that is, the ordinary average, everyday person (objective test), rather than the actual installer, which would have been a subjective test.
In order to offer further light on the principles associated with the resolution of the intention-purpose test, the British Columbia Superior Court in Royal Bank vs. Maple Ridge Farmers (1995), stated:
Rule # 10 - "First items resting on their own weight or merely plugged in would be chattels,
Rule # 11 - unless appreciable damage would result from their removal.
Rule # 12 - Items otherwise attached would be fixtures.
Rule # 13 - When equipment is attached to a structure, all of its components are to be regarded as fixtures,
Rule # 14 - even a part that can be removed easily, if the removal of that part would render the machine/fixture inoperative.
Rule # 15 - Only in exceptional circumstances would one resort to the purpose test, as in the case of mobile homes or other expensive and large items."
These principles have been quoted with approval in other cases, but they have probably not been around long enough to be considered "settled law".
Nevertheless, they offer helpful guidance in resolving some of the concerns and arriving at a more conclusive determination.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker