Monty is a very experienced barrister who has an established successful "Court based" property law practice. Recommended by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 as a leading property junior, his expertise covers the full ambit of commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, service charges, social housing, enfranchisement, mortgages (regulated and un-regulated), easements, boundaries, adverse possession, party wall disputes, proprietary estoppel, co-ownership, title disputes, trusts for sale, and professional negligence claims and insolvency relating to these areas.
Monty has significant experience in dealing with “pub” cases (over 400), representing various PubCos and tenants in all manner of disputes surrounding such leases covering: forfeiture and relief, “buying out”, unlawful use, consents to assign or alter, dilapidations and 54 Act renewals.
In addition to being in Court, Monty is regularly involved in advising and appearing in cases before all of the various division of the FTT and the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber. He has extensive experience as an advocate in mediations.
Monty’s practice is supported by a large and varied lay client base comprising companies, financial institutions, housing associations, trust funds, surveyors, and private individuals. More and more work is now coming by way of direct access. He has a solid track record of establishing long term client relationships and his high level of accessibility and responsiveness have made him many of his clients’ barrister of choice.
The extent of Monty’s repeat instructions show how much he is appreciated by his clients who value his strong, persuasive advocacy skills allied to his ability to apply commercial reality as well as resolve fraught and difficult situations and achieve a successful outcome either at trial, mediation or earlier settlement. Clients also appreciate his attention to the individual and his ability to develop a good working relationship, retain a commercial perspective over the dispute and often achieve a successful outcome at an early stage in the litigation.
Areas of expertise
- Commercial landlord & tenant
Commercial landlord & tenant
Monty has many years’ experience of commercial landlord and tenant disputes. He has particular expertise in relation to pub work. Some of his recent cases include:
- Acting in a hotly contested claim by a Pub Co to recover possession following unlawful assignment. This case raised issues of service, construction of the clause, a reasonable period to make good, waiver and the terms of relief in respect of a person who it was said by the landlord was an unsuitable person to hold a ‘licence’.
- Acting in the defence of a claim for possession of a restaurant where the landlord claimed Monty’s client was a trespasser following the expiration of a six-month licence in July 2013 and the client claimed the benefit of a periodic tenancy. There was a further claim for £175,000 damages for use and occupation. The claim raised additional issues following the change in ownership of the landlord between the initial tenancy agreement and the claim for possession. The matter was eventually settled immediately before trial.
- Claim by a PubCo to recover possession and outstanding sums from guarantor. This case raised additional issues of forgery and agency in a hard fought matter with multiple hearings in which the guarantor sought to avoid liability.
- Advising a tenant regarding a demand that it withdraws a planning application for a change of use which the landlord alleged caused it “nuisance and annoyance” and the scope of such a covenant.
- Housing (social & privately rented)
Housing (social & privately rented)
Monty has considerable expertise in residential landlord and tenant disputes. Some of his recent cases include:
- Seeking a determination in a breach of covenant case regarding alleged use as a brothel. Detailed cross-examination after which the tenant’s evidence was rejected by the FFT.
- Opposing a claim of unlawful eviction before the High Court Master by a former tenant to get back into the property following enforcement of a County Court possession order by the High Court. The tenant further claimed she had a new tenancy granted after the making of a possession order. After two hearings, the tenant accepted not she was not entitled to go back in thereby allowing the landlord to dispose of the property. The tenant failed thereafter to pursue the claim for unlawful eviction.
- Acting for the landlord in the successful recovery of a house subject to various tenancies or agreements which potentially fell within the Rent Acts, Housing Acts and/or a business tenancy. The claim was legally complex including the status of an unincorporated association and the fact the various agreements involved dated back to the 1970s.
- A two day trial concerning the right to succeed to a Rent Act tenancy by a “wife” who initially disputed her husband’s death which dealt with issues of the validity before the English Courts of an “Shari’a” marriage carried out in unregistered premises for the purposes of the Marriage Act and whether, on the facts, the parties were separated thereby precluding reliance upon the deemed spouse provision arising whether the parties are “living as husband and wife”.
- Acting for a tenant in a fully contested trial before the FTT regarding “bad” behavior ranging from short term subletting, drugs offences, criminal damage, noise nuisance, verbal abuse and threats.
- Leasehold & leasehold management
Leasehold & leasehold management
Service charge disputes and enfranchisement claims are a regular feature in Monty’s practice. Some of his recent cases include:
- Monty advised and acted for the landlord in the successful recovery of over £2.4M (approx. £160,000 from each residential tenant) for major works to a mixed-use block.
- Acting in heavily contested proceedings before the FTT involving alleged unlawful structural alterations to two residential flats raising issues as to what constitutes the structure and whether the works were a fire risk. The issues included the rights of a current landlord to seek a determination in respect of breach which occurred before his ownership. The matter also went to the Upper Tribunal on appeal as to whether it was appropriate to stay the proceeding when an application had been made to acquire the freehold by collective enfranchisement under the 1993 Act.
- Advising on the validity of a s.42 notice under the 1993 enfranchisement legislation and the right of a beneficial owner to serve such a notice.
- Acting for a number of tenants in a successful application for the appointment of a manager which has the effect of removing control of the freehold from a family who owned the majority of the flats in a block.
- Acting (direct access) for tenant in a Major Works case in which following the service of a Statement of Case on behalf of his client, the local authority landlord withdrew its free-standing application for dispensation made after an earlier finding that the original s.20 consultation notice had not been served.
- Real property & mortgages
Real property & mortgages
Monty handles a wide variety of real property disputes. Some of his recent cases include:
- Acting (direct access) in respect of a boundary dispute which had arisen following a correction to the Title Plan by the Land Registry.
- Advising on and obtaining an injunction to prevent an individual from entering any building belonging to a non-campus university.
- Defending a claim for the recovery of possession of three properties in an inter-family dispute. The occupiers counterclaimed declarations of ownership of seven properties and an account of partnership profits from various properties (allegedly over 30) said to be put into a partnership which ran for 20 or so years. The existence of the partnership was denied claiming that it was a “paper” partnership for tax purposes. The case involved significant factual disputes (25 lever arch files) due to the length of time of this “partnership” and the inconsistent contemporaneous assertions made by various parties. The claim which was due to last eight days in the High Court and in which Monty was led by John Randall QC, eventually settled three working days before it was due to start on terms which were very acceptable to Monty’s client which resulted in him keeping all the properties.
- A three-day trial concerning the right to have an oil tank on land belonging to another and supply pipes thereto and a claim in respect of damage caused by the adjoining owner to his client’s property.
- Advising a leading “pub-co” in respect of un-authorised long term occupants of an adjoining car park to a public house and various other matters affecting its large portfolio.
- Advising and drafting in respect of case involving an unmarried couple with regard to property acquired in both England and Spain during the period of their relationship from monies said to be generated from their respective business.
- Commercial landlord & tenant
Monty is recommended for Property Litigation in Chambers UK, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal which states:
- “His knowledge about property law and landlord and tenant law is second to none. He is clearly a leader in his field. He has an eye for detail that is phenomenal and reassuring to have on your team. He will quickly see the point that everyone else missed and use it to his advantage.” (Legal 500)
- “Monty is an excellent all-round advocate who is very easy to work with.” “Totally reliable and a go-to guy.” “Technically strong and very knowledgeable.” (Chambers UK)
- “A very responsible individual who is prepared to go the extra mile. He is exceptionally user-friendly, very thorough and completely unflappable.” (Chambers UK)
- “Monty is an excellent courtroom lawyer who is very quick on his feet. You can call upon him at short notice and he will roll up his sleeves and get stuck in.” (Chambers UK)
- “He is approachable and deeply knowledgeable.” (Chambers UK)
- “He is a very good trial advocate who takes a very practical approach.” (Chambers UK)
- “He is always contactable and an advocate who has the ability to think on his feet. He brings many years’ experience to bear, giving sound commercial and common sense advice.” (Chambers UK)
- Property Bar Association