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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?

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Attorney answers 3


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.



If a/c unit states portable and yet was attached to building so as not to fall off roof, causing holes when removed, but repaired by tenant does this constitute damage to the premises? and what is the proper time to remove an item in CA

Brandy Ann Peeples

Brandy Ann Peeples


Consult a local attorney in California -- I still see minor holes as not being significant, unrepairable damage, and I'm not aware of what constitutes proper time under California law. I wish I could offer you more advice.


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.

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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.