Accession in property law refers to the acquisition of personal property due to value added from labor or materials, including alluvial deposits and annexing fixtures.

For example, If a homeowner replaces the air-conditioning of the house and later defaults on the mortgage, when the bank takes over possession of it through foreclosure, the newer air-conditioner will belong to the bank too as it has become part of the house.

On the other side of the coin, should a home owner sabotage the air-conditioning and it can be proven as such, the bank will be able to claim damages for it as the damages were caused in bad faith.

Accession is most common in commercial property.

This is because businesses tend to conduct renovation to install trade fixtures and create a conducive work environment for employees to work in.

If these trade fixtures are not removed when the tenant moves out of the premises, they become the property of the landlord.

However in practice, things of value are seldom left behind by tenants.

The meaning of the term accession can vary depending on the context in which it is used.

Accession in areas other than real estate

The legal concept of accession also applies to commercial law and common law.

An example is that if debt from a bank was used to acquire a company, and the debt goes into default, when the bank repossesses the company, it also takes over all the intellectual property that was created during the period before default occurred. It has become part of the company.

The lender can then sell the intellectual property to bidders to recover the lost funds.

Another example is that if a car has had it’s spare parts upgraded by an owner, if the car is repossessed by the bank due to default, then the parts become the property of the lender as well.


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