Another case on partition walls

Whether a wall between, for example, two apartments is owned by either of the owners (or by both) is to be determined by searching for the intention of the parties to the DMC and the first assignment. An express provision in the deed is obviously the best way of spelling out that intention. The colouring on a plan or a legend to a plan are unlikely to have been intended as an explanation of their intention in this regard.

In Tam Sze Man v Shan Tsui Court (IO) ([2011] HKEC 111) the owners of two adjoining apartments wanted to remove the partition wall between them so as to create a single apartment. They argued that they owned the wall.  They relied on the fact that the wall was coloured on the plan showing the area of their exclusive occupation. This failed. Colouring on a plan was not a valid basis from which to infer the parties’ intention in this regard. The DMC and first transfer did not deal with ownership. Thus, the neighbours owned the floor and ceiling surfaces and the air space in between. They did not share the ownership of the wall and could not remove it.

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