This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
A fixture is a thing which, though originally a movable chattel, is, by reason of its annexation to land, regarded as a part of the land, partaking of its character and belonging, in the ordinary case at least, to the person or persons owning the land. The underlying principle of the law of fixtures is represented by the maxim, Quicquid plantatur solo, solo cedit, that is, that whatever is annexed to the soil becomes part thereof, this being but one application of the theory of accession, as it existed in the civil law.49 In order that the principle apply, however, it is not necessary that the thing in question be in actual contact with the soil, and it is sufficient if it be attached to some other article or structure which is itself, by reason of the same principle, a part of the land. So, if a house is a fixture, as being erected on the land in a certain manner, and for certain purposes, articles within the house may be regarded as part of the land, as being annexed to what is itself a part thereof.
In the case of an article annexed by the tenant in fee simple of land, the question whether it is a part of the land may arise as between such tenant and a grantee or mortgagee of the land, or, after his death, between his personal representative and his heir or devisee. In case the annexation is by a life tenant or the tenant of an estate less than freehold, the question arises usually between such tenant of a limited interest, or
48v. Clarke v. Cobb, 121 Cal. 695, 54 Pac. 74; Dixon v. Nicholls, 39 111. 372, 89 Am. Dec. 312; Or-cutt v. Moore, 134 Mass. 48, 45 Am. Rep. 278; Antone v. Miles, 47
Tex. Civ. App. 289, 105 S. W. 39. 49. In the civil law the maxim assumed the form "Omne quod inedificatur solo cedit." Inst. Just. 2. 1. 29. See remarks of Lord his representative, and the reversioner or remainderman. The annexation may also be by one who has no interest or estate in the land, and the question of the right of removal then arises between him or his representative and the owner of the land. Questions also frequently arise between persons claiming under a sale or chattel mortgage of the article annexed and grantees or mortagees of the land.
The question, whether an article has become a part of the land by annexation, is ordinarily one of mixed law and fact.50 The character of the article, the mode of its attachment to the land, the relation of the parties and the like, are matters of fact, and whether, applying the criteria established by previous decisions, these facts are, in the particular case, such as to make the article legally a part of the land, is a question of law.
There are occasional decisions to the effect that a chattel may, by annexation, become a part of the land, although the annexation is made without the consent of the owner of the chattel, the result being that the latter is deprived of his chattel by the wrongful
Blackburn in Wake v. Hall, 8 App. Cas. 195.
50. Gresham v. Taylor, 51 Ala. 505; Nelson v. Howison, 122 Ala. E73, 25 So. 211; Fechet v. Drake, Ariz. 12 Pac. 694; Capen v. Peck-ham, 35 Conn. 88; Crerar v. Daniels, 209 111. 296; McFarlane v. Foley, 27 Ind. App. 484, 87 Am. St. Rep. 264; Roderick v. Sanborn, 106 Me. 159, 30 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1189, 20 Ann. Cas. 469, 76 Atl. 263; Hopewell Mills v. Taunton Sav. Bank, 150 Mass. 519, 15 Am. St. Rep. 235, 6 L. R. A. 249, 23 N. E. 327; Scudder v. Anderson, 54 Mich. 122, 19 N. W. 775; Grand Lodge v. Know, 27 Mo. 315;
Brownell v. Fuller, 60 Neb. 558, 83 N. W. 669; Kent v. Brown, 59 N. H. 236; Van Keuren v. New Jersey Cent. R. Co., 38 N. J. L. 165; Scobell v. Block, 82 Hun (N. )Y.) 223, 31 N. Y. Supp. 975; Al-berson v. Elk Creek Min. Co., 39 Ore. 552, 65 Pac. 978; Campbell v. O'Neill, 64 Pa. 290; Seeger v. Pettit, 77 Pa. 437, 18 Am. Rep. 452; Tunis Lumber Co. v. Dennis Lumber Co., 97 Va. 682, 34 S. E. 613; Philadelphia Mortgage & Trust Co. v. Miller, 20 Wash. 607, 44 L. R. A. 559, 72 Am. St. Rep. 138, 56 Pac. 382; Anderson v. Englehart, 18 Wyo. 409, 108 Pac. 977.
Rights of Enjoyment.