CMIC Mortgage Investment Corp v Rodriguez, 2010 BCSC 308; [2010] BCJ No 425

The bankrupt farmer ran an equestrian operation. She acquired two fabric covered barns, with one anchored by solid concrete blocks resting on the ground, and the second anchored into concrete foundations.

The unpaid supplier had not registered under the British Columbia PPSA or filed a fixtures notice against title. In a competition with the mortgagee of the subject lands where these structures were located, the Court held that the barn anchored by the concrete blocks resting on the ground was a chattel, and not a fixture.

In coming to this conclusion the Court reviewed the tests in each of Stack v. T. Eaton Co., [1902] 4 O.L.R. 335, Royal Bank of Canada v. Maple Ridge Farmers Market Ltd., [1995] B.C.J. No. 1696, and LaSalle Recreations Ltd. v. Canadian Camdex Investments Ltd. et al. (1969), 4 D.L.R. (3d) 549 (BCCA). The Court noted that the law from these cases was that a thing affixed to the real estate will be presumed to be a fixture unless the evidence shows it is affixed for the purpose of making better use of it as a chattel.

The Court concluded that Ms. Rodriguez intended the structure to be portable so that she could relocate it around her land, quickly dismantling and moving it. The Court noted from Maple Ridge, the sixth rule from Maczko J. and followed it:

In very exceptional circumstances not covered by these rules the court should have resort to the purpose test. For example, a mobile home may be resting on the land by its own weight but it may be clearly established that it was intended to be a fixture. These circumstances should only arise rarely and in relation to very large or expensive items. [para. 21]