Determining the ownership of Street Art

Written by: Dan Sandler

Date: 16th October 2016

In an application for summary judgment, the High Court has decided that an external mural, attributed to the street artist Banksy, which had been removed by the tenant, in fact belonged to the landlord.

The decision is consistent with the well established principle that, prima facie, the leased property and every part of it belongs to the landlord.

The tenant was not entitled to remove the art work by virtue of the fairly standard repairing obligations in its lease.

Once removed, the art work became a chattel that belonged to the landlord. No term could be implied into the lease that meant the art work became the property of the tenant. (The Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure Ltd and others [2015] EWHC 2556 (Ch).)