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Property Law Letter Of Advise

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Mrs Betty Joyce lives in an old, war-time vintage army shed in Baldivis. When she started to live in the shed, in the early 1960s, the whole area was a remote backwater. Since then, with the effects of urban sprawl and improved highways, the area has become desirable as a commuter suburb. Land value in the area has skyrocketed in recent years, and a number of residential zones have been developed.

The shed, of substantial weight, is constructed from galvanized iron and rests on top of concrete piers. It is not otherwise attached to the piers or to the ground. The shed has stood in its present position since 1942, and while it was originally designed as a ‘demountable’, it is unlikely that it could be moved now without falling apart.

Turnbull Developments Pty Ltd (Turnbull) has recently purchased the freehold of the land upon which Mrs Joyce’s shed stands. The company has also acquired most of the land in the surrounding area for the purposes of constructing and selling a new housing estate. Mrs Joyce has a 60 year lease of her land, entered into in 1965, which Turnbull is obliged to respect. However, in the lease, which she didn’t read very carefully, Mrs Joyce acknowledged:

The shed presently on the lot is a chattel, and may be removed by the owner or his assigns at will.
Turnbull wishes to remove the shed, because it says that it detracts from the ‘look’ of its overall development plans. Mrs Joyce argues that the shed has become part of the land, and her lease of the land gives her the right to retain the shed.
Advise Mrs Joyce.

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