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Michael specialises purely in Chancery and Property Litigation (residential and commercial), and regularly appears in the County Court, High Court and FTT. 

Being a former solicitor specialising in property litigation, he has experience spanning the breadth of both professions, which clients find to be invaluable not only in the pre-litigation stage but in the run up to trial.

Michael also has a keen eye for detail, and is often instructed on very complex matters warranting an in-depth analysis in matters concerning landlord and tenant, possession, forfeiture, disrepair, easements, probate, wills, transfer of beneficial interests, trusts, estoppel, adverse possession, boundary disputes, trespass, and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.  (This list is non-exhaustive)

He is qualified to accept instructions under the Direct Access scheme.

Michael has also published many property articles for both the Housing and Property bulletins. See News and Articles below.

Residential Property

Residential and Commercial Landlord and Tenant

Michael is regularly instructed across the entire spectrum of landlord and tenant work.  The following is a list of some of the most common issues.

Residential

  • Possession
  • Prescribed Requirements (Gas safety / EPC / How to Rent)
  • Deposits and Prescribed Information
  • Disrepair
  • Nuisance
  • Forfeiture
  • Service charges and administration charges
  • Ground rent recovery and demands
  • Surrender agreements
  • Notices to quit
  • Boundary disputes
  • Adverse possession (registered and unregistered land)
  • Trespass
  • Injunctions (prohibitory and mandatory)
  • Specific performance
  • Rent increases
  • Consent for alterations and improvements (unreasonable withholding)
  • Easements / rights of way

Recent cases

  • In 2023, Michael was instructed by a large Property Management Company to provide advice on the potential effects of the Renters (Reform) Bill due to its proposed abolition of fixed term tenancies. While the Bill has not yet been given Royal Assent, it has gained much traction, and has understandably caused significant shockwaves across the residential landlord community.
  • In 2023, Michael was instructed to provide advice to a home owner on a boundary dispute with her neighbour who built a large extension in breach of planning permission, and in the absence of any notice under the Party Wall Act. After having carried out a thorough analysis, it was found that the neighbour had committed a trespass and caused damage to the client’s property.
  • In 2023, Michael was instructed by a land owner claiming title to adjacent land by way of adverse possession. The land being claimed is predominantly unregistered, however scattered within the plot are small portions of registered land which relate to historical leasehold interests dating back to the 19th Century. Michael’s services were retained in order for an in-depth analysis to be carried out as to the extent of unregistered land being claimed, and proceedings have now commenced in the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
  • In 2022 and 2023, Michael was instructed on a number of trespass cases involving farmers prevented from gaining access to their land due to repeated obstructions by adjacent commercial leaseholders. Michael carried out a detailed analysis, provided advice and drafted pleadings, some of which have settled at the pre-litigation stage whereas others have warranted proceedings to be issued for injunctive relief and damages.
  • Throughout 2021 and 2022 Michael acted for a landlord on a very protracted and complex s.8 possession claim, involving many spurious allegations of disrepair brought by the tenant in an attempt to set-off his damages claim against the arrears figure that had reached £110,000.00. After a very long battle, Michael was successful in finally defeating the tenant’s numerous claims, enabling the landlord to eventually recover possession, and rent out the property to good paying tenants.
  • Michael is currently instructed on a very complex s.8 possession claim on behalf of a tenant who had been granted by way of statutory declaration the right to use the property rent free for the rest of his life. The landlord accepted that he had made a Statutory Declaration but denied that it had any legal effect. The claim is ongoing, and involves arguments of constructive trust, proprietary estoppel, and undue influence.
  • In 2022, Michael was instructed to advise a leaseholder as to whether her freeholder had unreasonably withheld consent for alterations. After having carried out a comprehensive analysis, it was found that there had been an unreasonable withholding of consent, and proceedings have since been issued for declaratory relief.


 

Commercial Property

  • Lease renewals
  • Leasehold termination
  • Rent increases
  • Rent recovery
  • Leasehold interpretation
  • Break clauses
  • Surrender agreements
  • Repairing covenants
  • Consent for alterations and improvements (unreasonable withholding)
  • User
  • Trespass
  • Forfeiture
  • Mixed use (commercial and residential)
  • Frustration

Recent cases

  • In 2022 Michael advised and acted for a commercial landlord concerning opposition to a tenant’s application for renewal. The reason for opposition was demolition (reliance upon s.30(1)(f) LTA 1954) and validity of the landlord’s reliance upon this ground was being challenged.
  • Recently Michael advised a commercial tenant on waiver of the right to re-enter/forfeit, in circumstances where the commercial landlord had sought injunctive relief as part of the same possession proceedings without having properly pleaded such relief in the alternative.  
  • In 2022 Michael was instructed by a commercial tenant seeking advice on how to exercise a conditional break clause, which was so badly worded when the lease was originally drafted that it raised doubts as to whether it could ever be validly exercised in order to determine the lease prematurely.
  • In 2020-2021, Michael was instructed to provide advice to a commercial tenant on the area of frustration due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chancery

Michael is regularly instructed on cases involving issues of:

  • Restitution
  • Undue influence
  • Personal Insolvency (Bankruptcy / IVAs / Breathing Space Moratoriums / substituted service / annulments)
  • Company Insolvency (Winding Up / CVAs)
  • Trusts (common intention constructive trusts / resulting trusts / bare trusts)
  • Estoppel (proprietary and promissory / life interests)
  • Wills and Probate (including intestacy rules)

Recent cases

  • In 2023 Michael was instructed to advise a beneficiary in relation to his mother’s estate after she died intestate. Prior to her death, she and her ex-husband held the property as joint tenants in equity, but failed to sever the joint tenancy during her lifetime. The ex-husband claimed survivorship rights and rejected the beneficiary’s claim to hold any beneficial interest in the Property. Michael advised that there were good prospects of success in making a claim under s.14 TOLATA 1996 on grounds of constructive trust and/or proprietary estoppel.
  • In 2023 Michael acted for a creditor in a bankruptcy petition, and thereafter acted for the same creditor in response to an application made by the debtor to annul the bankruptcy order. At court, Michael was successful in having the application dismissed.
  • In 2022 and 2023, Michael was instructed by a defendant in residential possession proceedings who claimed to be residing in the property pursuant to a Statutory Declaration that granted him the right to use the property for life rent-free. The proceedings were defended inter alia on grounds of constructive trust, proprietary estoppel, and undue influence.
  • In 2022 Michael advised and acted for a client who was a defendant in possession proceedings brought by a commercial lender who was enforcing a legal charge over the property. The client’s husband had encouraged her to sign over her entire beneficial interest in the property as security for the loan without her knowledge. Relying on the principles laid down in Royal Bank of Scotland v Etridge, Michael was successful in limiting the lender’s security to only that of the husband’s equity in the property.
     

Housing

Michael is regularly instructed on cases involving issues of: 

  • Possession of secure tenancies
  • Possession of assured tenancies
  • Disrepair, including quantum and specific performance
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions
  • Committals

Michael has obtained numerous injunctions on behalf of local authorities and housing associations under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and often appears in committal hearings for breach of such injunctions.

Michael is commonly instructed by local authorities, secure tenants, Housing Associations and assured tenants to appear in both trials and interlocutory hearings concerning claims for damages due to disrepair, as well as orders for specific performance. Michael also provides advices on quantum.

Michael is often instructed to appear on behalf of local authorities, secure tenants, Housing Associations and assured tenants in possession claims.

Michael is regularly instructed in possession claims concerning s.8 and s.21, and provides advice on all matters under the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1988, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, and the Housing Act 2004.[IFK2] 

Recent cases

  • In 2022 and 2023 Michael was instructed to represent a defendant to a possession claim who originally took up occupation in a council property as a lodger of a secure tenant in [IFK3] 1999, and remained in occupation after the secure tenant vacated that property in 2004. Despite the defendant making direct payments for 20 years, the local authority claimed not to have known about his existence.
     

Other Information

In his spare time, Michael enjoys travelling, chess, learning French and playing piano. When time permits, he enjoys a glass of wine and has an unfortunate penchant for good quality Burgundy reds.

For updates in the world of property law follow Michael on Twitter at @lettingsbar1 and on LinkedIn.

Areas of Expertise


Scholarships & Awards

  • Harmsworth Scholar (Middle Temple)

Related News

Can you trust a notice to quit?

Can you trust a notice to quit?

Michael Grant discusses the recent High Court decision in Procter v Procter and others [2022] EWHC 1202.


Published: 30th May 2022

More news

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