Skip to main content

Can a "trade" fixture,a A/C portable unit used for business be removed from commercial property, if landlord terminated lease?

Torrance, CA |

an A/C portable unit was purchased and installed for the use of keeping products at the correct temperature as required for industry standards of our business. lease was terminated by landlord by written notice after 6 mos. (also due to a federal closure) lease states improvements cannot be removed, but this is chattel property installed by tenant. but portable, not industrial, if damage is repaired, hole in wall and roof, can item be removed without violating lease?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. A removable a/c unit would not be considered a "fixture." Generally fixtures are items that cannot be removed without doing damage to the leased premises.

    Thus, a commercial tenant can remove all of his personal property and some "trade fixtures" when moving out. Trade fixtures are defined as personal property that a tenant attaches to leased land for business purposes, such as a display counter. For the trade fixture to remain with the commercial tenant, the item in question must be (1) necessary for the business of the tenant; (2) removable without damage to the property; and (3) removable within a proper time.

    From what you typed, the a/c unit would be a trade fixture that you would be permitted to take with you, so long as its removal does not damage the premises.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.

  2. I agree with the comments of my colleague with one caveat: READ YOUR LEASE. Improvements are generally those that have become a permanent part of the premises, or specified as an improvement in the lease.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice or counsel. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice and counsel must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice and counsel during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice or counsel in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for advice and counsel. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

  3. Yes, it should be. Generally speaking, fixtures which are affixed remain with the property, but the tenant is entitled to take trade fixtures.

    Civil Code section 660 defines fixtures as:

    "A thing is deemed to be affixed to land when it is attached to
    it by roots, as in the case of trees, vines, or shrubs; or imbedded
    in it, as in the case of walls; or permanently resting upon it, as in
    the case of buildings; or permanently attached to what is thus
    permanent, as by means of cement, plaster, nails, bolts, or screws;
    except that for the purposes of sale, emblements, industrial growing
    crops and things attached to or forming part of the land, which are
    agreed to be severed before sale or under the contract of sale, shall
    be treated as goods and be governed by the provisions of the title
    of this code regulating the sales of goods."

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.