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Let us assume a fixture improvement (wooden deck) has been constructed on a Florida condominium by an individual owner (not the Association) on the Association's common area.

However, assume for this example that the owner did have standing (permission and licensing) to build the improvement. DaleM indicated that the Association now owns said improvement. It is my understanding ownership comprises control and responsibility. As the owner, the Association:

  1. Can remove the items at will
  2. Is responsible for maintenance of improvements
  3. Is responsible for liability
  4. Has authority to apply rules to control / limit use of the improvement (wooden deck).

DaleM indicated:

A deck is normally fixed to the land in some more or less permanent fashion. That makes it a fixture, and fixtures, unlike chattels, have no property independent of the land they are part of. The part of the deck on the common property of the HOA belongs to the HOA.

DaleM correctly surmises that the improvement is a fixture. IANAL, so I seek to understand: Because the fixture-improvement (wooden deck) is on the common property, the HOA owns it. Any layman's explanation is appreciated.

What precedent is there for DaleM's hypothesis / argument?

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    This question clearly asks what the specific law on fixtures is. It is in no way asking for specific legal advice, and should not be closed on that basis. Jan 11, 2023 at 15:10
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    Please consider posting constructive / actionable feedback when downvoting or signaling to close, then I can improve / clarify
    – gatorback
    Jan 11, 2023 at 21:01
  • So far, no one has downvoted this question. A vote to close (VTC) is not the same as a DV. A VTC must always specify one of the predefined reasons, or a custom reason noted in a comment. Jan 11, 2023 at 21:14

1 Answer 1

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A fixture is a chattel that attached to real property with the intention that it be permanent

When land is transferred, the fixtures come with it, the chattels don’t. The ur-example of a fixture is a building.

In determining the intent of the person who attached the object the court makes rebuttable assumptions. These were spelled out in Australian Provincial Assurance Co Ltd v Coroneo:

A fixture is a thing once a chattel which has become in law land through having been fixed to land. The question whether a chattel has become a fixture depends upon whether it has been fixed to land, and if so for what purpose. If a chattel is actually fixed to land to any extent, by any means other than its own weight, then prima facie it is a fixture; and the burden of proof is upon anyone who asserts that it is not: if it is not otherwise fixed but is kept in position by its own weight, then prima facie it is not a fixture; and the burden of proof is on anyone who asserts that it is…”

The test of whether a chattel which has been to some extent fixed to land is a fixture is whether it has been fixed with the intention that it shall remain in position permanently or for an indefinite or substantial period… or whether it has been fixed with the intent that it shall remain in position only for some temporary purpose…

Article 9 of the Universal Commercial Code of the USA, fixtures are defined as “goods that have become so related to particular real property that an interest in them arises under real property law.” This site gives some precedents.

The deck in the question is undoubtably a fixture. As such it is part of the land. Whoever owns the land owns the deck.

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