Simon is a commercial litigator with a specialist contentious real estate practice. He is regularly instructed by household name developers, social landlords, retailers, charities, commercial landlords and tenants, residents' associations and private individuals in matters involving:
- Property Rights | actions for the recovery of land including claims for possession against squatters, claims for adverse possession, boundary disputes, disputes concerning private and public rights of way, rights of drainage and other easements and restrictive covenants
- Commercial Property | opposed and unopposed Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Act lease renewals, dilapidations, rent reviews and actions for breach of covenant, including forfeiture and commercial rent arrears recovery
- Residential Property | claims for possession, disrepair and other breaches of covenant, service charge disputes and applications to enfranchise, extend leases and obtain rights to manage
- Property Contracts | disputes arising from sale and purchase contracts (in particular in relation to new-build properties), advising on the meaning and effect of lease terms and remedies for defective lease terms, disputes concerning property options, promotion agreements and overage provisions, and related professional negligence claims
Simon routinely deals with matters before the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), as well as in the County Court and High Court. He is a member of the Property Litigation Association.
Examples of Simon’s notable recent work can be found in the links below.
Simon has particular expertise in resolving boundary disputes, claims for adverse possession and recovering possession of property from trespassers, and with disputes involving property rights over neighbouring land. His reported cases in these areas include:
- Bethell v St John’s College, Oxford (1) and Hiorns (2)
- Fraser v Brown  EWHC2692 [CH]**
Examples of recent work include:
- acting for a company engaged in the construction of a power station in recovering possession of land on which construction is to take place from travellers and resolving related adverse possession proceedings
- Bethell v St John’s College, Oxford (1) and Hiorns (2) – acting for an individual property owner in proceedings against a major Oxford College and its tenant farmer in a dispute concerning boundaries and a drainage easement, and obtaining indemnity costs in respect of the same. The case was widely reported in the national and local media
- acting for a large household name charity in successfully settling claims for specific performance and damages arising from alleged failures to transfer fishing rights attached to a large estate pursuant to a contract for sale and successfully settling the related professional negligence claim against the charity’s former city solicitors on an indemnity basis
- on behalf of an owner-managed business who had obtained planning permission to change their office premises and grounds from commercial premises to a residential development, settling on highly favourable terms proceedings before the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in respect of restrictive covenants which would otherwise have prevented the development proceeding
Simon has extensive experience in assisting commercial landlords manage their property portfolios and in particular recovering rent arrears, obtaining possession orders, dilapidations and opposed and unopposed lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
Recent work in this area includes:
- acting for a landlord owner of a number of industrial estates in respect of renewing leases with tenants, taking action to recover rent arrears from defaulting tenants and resolving dilapidation issues at the end of tenancies
- successfully settling opposed lease renewal proceedings on behalf of a well-known national retailer client in respect of Head Office premises of which they are the tenant. The case attracted considerable local and national press interest, given the location of the premises
- successfully settling unopposed lease renewal proceedings on behalf of a major high-profile international client relating to extensive warehouse premises of which they were the tenant
Simon regularly acts for landlords of residential properties, including major social housing providers, in resolving claims for disrepair, disputes as to service charges and recovering possession from defaulting tenants.
In addition, Simon acts for individual or groups of tenants in challenging the reasonableness of service charge demands before the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and advising on the process for extending leases, enfranchising and obtaining rights to manage.
Recent work in this area includes:
- assisting a major social housing provider in the management of its 13,000-strong property portfolio and in particular handling tenant disrepair claims in the County Court
- acting for a group of sheltered accommodation tenants in successfully challenging the reasonableness of their landlord’s service charge demands and attempts to vary the service charge provisions in their leases at the First-Tier Tribunal
- on behalf of a landlord of mixed-use premises, succeeding before the First-Tier Tribunal in resisting the residential tenants’ right-to-manage application and challenge to the reasonableness of its service charge demands
Simon acts for the firm’s household-name house-builder clients where contentious matters arise on new build developments, including enforcing sale and purchase contracts, transfers and leases, disputes with neighbouring land owners and construction issues. He also advises on contested option and promotion agreements.
Recent work in this area includes:
- acting for a major house-builder in successfully applying to the First-Tier Tribunal to vary the defective service charge provisions in some ninety-seven leases on two developments and settling the related professional negligence claims against the client’s former solicitors
- on behalf of a leading house-builder client, swiftly resolving claims for nuisance from neighbouring land owners in respect of a major development
- advising a consortium of private individuals in respect of their termination of an option agreement granted in favour of a household-name house-builder
Town and Village Greens
Simon has an interest in applications to register land in private ownership as town or village greens and has successfully acted for a number of land owners in resisting such applications. His most recent such case was _Re: Application to register land at Maylands Way, Harold Park_ as a town or village green where Simon acted for a large charity in successfully objecting to an application by local residents to register a town or village green on land owned by the client at a six-day non-statutory public inquiry.