Commercial Property Blog

Legal Tips and Traps

Vagueness around Fixtures can Cost you in the Long Run

Posted by Dean Claughton on 9 Jul 2015

If you’re drafting a lease, it goes without saying that you want to be clear and unambiguous about the terms – this includes what needs to happen regarding fixtures. 

The case below demonstrates what happens when actions regarding fixtures are left open to interpretation.

Back in the ‘90s, Whitehouse Properties Pty Ltd agreed to lease the land it owned to BP Australia Pty Ltd for use as a service station. 

At the end of the lease, BP removed parts of the service station, including the convenience store, tanks and associated piping. 

The hardstand (paved area in front of the convenience store housing the pumps and canopy, and which supported the weight of vehicles entering the service station) was left in place.

Whitehorse sought an order from the Court requiring BP to remove the hardstand from the site. The New South Wales Supreme Court held that if Whitehorse had wanted BP to remove the hardstand they should have expressly said so in the Lease. 

The inconvenience and expense of these proceedings may have been avoided had this term been more clearly defined in the Lease. 

If you wish to avoid ambiguity in the drafting of your Lease documents, please contact the Coleman Greig Commercial Property team: