A tenant's covenant not to carry alterations without landlord's consent, not to be unreasonably withheld, is unlikely to prevent the tenant from contending that he is entitled to remove tenant's fixtures. Even an obligation to install the fixtures is unlikely to prevail over the right to remove tenant's fixtures. This is likely to impact on the scope of the premises to be valued on review.
In Peel Land and Property v TS Sheerness Steel (2013) the Court was asked to rule on whether large items of heavy plant and machinery were fixtures and whether the tenant had the right to remove them.
In relation to the fixtures which had not become part of the land, the Court had to decide if the tenant could remove them under the terms of the lease. The tenant was the operator of a steel works at the premises and had been obliged to erect and equip the steel works under the terms of the lease. The landlord claimed that since the plant and machinery was installed pursuant to an obligation in the lease, the tenant had no right to remove it. In the alternative, the landlord claimed that removal of the plant and machinery would constitute an alteration to the premises which was forbidden under the lease without the landlord's consent.
The Court found that the tenant's covenants in the lease to install the fixtures had no impact on the tenant's right to remove them. Further, the removal of the fixtures could not constitute an alteration to the premises given the settled legal principle that a tenant has the right to remove tenant's fixtures. The Court concluded that clear wording is required in the lease if a landlord wishes to restrict a tenant's right to remove tenant's fixtures.