Nicholas Grundy QC
- Called: 1993 (QC 2016)
"A barrister of superb quality with a legal knowledge which is second to none, he has an amazing ability to appear relaxed in even the most difficult cases and puts clients at their ease." The Legal 500 UK 2020
Nicholas Grundy QC is an experienced Property, Public Law and Human Rights specialist. He is instructed in a wide range of cases where Property and Public Law interact, for example where protesters occupy public buildings or individuals assert Equality or Human Rights against a public sector property owner.
Nick has significant expertise in relation to freehold and leasehold covenants and other real property issues, for example discharge or variation of restrictive covenants.
After six appearances in the Court of Appeal in 2019, five of them successful, Nick was shortisted by Legal 500 as Real Estate, Environment and Planning Silk of the year at the Legal 500 UK Awards 2020.
- Property Cases in which Equality or Human Rights arise
- Development of Land by public bodies
- Service Charge Issues (commercial and residential)
- Development of Lawful Policies
- Regularly instructed by public bodies: i.e. Councils and HAs
Nick is recommended in Chambers UK in the area of Housing Law and in the Legal 500 in Property Litigation and Social Housing.
“He is enormously capable and extremely personable with clients.” “He is very tenacious in tribunal and great to work with.”
Chambers & Partners 2020
“A very smooth advocate with vast legal knowledge and the ability to digest complex matters very quickly.” “He has a tremendous work ethic – nothing is either too big or too small. He is always happy to get involved.”
Chambers & Partners 2019
“He is academically so sharp and so clever, but he brings you with him and helps you catch up.” “For really hardcore cases, or where things have gone badly wrong, there is no one better to go to. He has an excellent bedside manner as well.” “A forceful advocate.”
Chambers & Partners 2018
“He does a brilliant job, he’s right on the money. His response times are frightening and his level of client care is a cut above.” “Absolutely excellent advice. He has a real depth of knowledge but has also retained a very down-to-earth manner.”
Chambers & Partners 2017
“He is combative in cross-examination and not afraid to ask the difficult questions.” “He sweeps majestically into the room and suddenly the world is all right.” “He is a very smooth advocate who puts clients at their ease.”
Chambers & Partners 2016
“A barrister of superb quality with a legal knowledge which is second to none.” ” He has an amazing ability to appear relaxed in even the most difficult cases and puts clients at their ease.”
The Legal 500 UK 2020
“Capable of analysing both sides of a fiendishly complex problem.” “A smooth, vastly knowledgeable advocate, who gets the right result every time.”
The Legal 500 UK 2019
“One of the country’s best, without a shadow of doubt.”
The Legal 500 UK 2017
“Feisty and forthright with a real enthusiasm for property and housing law.”
The Legal 500 UK 2016
“Meticulous in his preparation and a pleasure to work with.”
The Legal 500 UK 2015
Jesus College Cambridge – MA Archaeology & Anthropology (2.1 Hons).
Loughborough University – MSc Sport’s Science (distinction).
Westminster University – dip Law (Merit)
- LB Wandsworth v >2,000 Lessees (2019)
Service Charges; Installation of Sprinklers and First-tier Tribunal Jurisdiction.
A case in the First-tier Tribunal, LB Wandsworth issued this claim in the F-tT seeking a determination of whether under the terms of different iterations of the leases it had granted under the Right to Buy it was entitled to recover, as service charges the costs of installation of sprinkler systems in Blocks of ten storeys or more. Nick led Ben Malz. By a Judgment dated 18.12.2019 the F-tT held that the LB Wandsworth’s Application was beyond its jurisdiction as too theoretical; the LB Wandsworth did not have detailed plans in relation to any of the Blocks.
- Waltham Forest LBC v Saleh  EWCA Civ 1944
Homelessness; Out of Area placements and Reviews.
Nick and Victoria Osler acted on behalf of the LB Waltham Forest on its appeal to overturn the decision of HHJ Saggerson, that on a review of the suitability of accommodation provided in discharge of a homelessness duty a local housing authority must consider what other accommodation it has available to allocate to the applicant that is within or closer to its borough than the accommodation challenged by the applicant as unsuitable. The Court of Appeal upheld the 1st Instance decision.
- LB Haringey v Simawi & SoS for Communities and Local Government (intervening)  EWCA (Civ) 1770
Secure Tenancies; Single right of Succession; Discrimination under ECHR Art. 14.
Nick led Sam Phillips on this challenge to the single right of succession to a secure tenancy in the Housing act 1985, Part III. Mr Simawi argued that the fact that he did not have the right to succeed to his mother’s secure tenancy was a breach of Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Nick and Sam successfully argued that the restriction was not discriminatory because the outcome would have been the same whether Mr Simawi’s mother or father had died first.
- Aldwyck HA v Forward  EWCA Civ 1334
Nick, leading Millie Polimac, won in the Court of Appeal, they were instructed by Devonshires on behalf of Aldwyck HA. This case concerned the Public Sector Equality Duty (“PSED”) set out in the Equality Act 2010, s. 149. Aldwyck brought possession proceedings against Mr Forward (F) on the basis that he had caused A-SB by using and/or allowing his flat to be used for drug dealing and consumption. At the trial Aldwyck’s relevant officer accepted that her PSED assessment was inadequate because whilst she knew that F was physically disabled she had not taken account of his disability as she had no medical evidence relating to it. The Court of Appeal held, applying public law principles, that a failure to comply with the PSED was not fatal to a claim if the outcome of the claim would have been the same if the public law duty had been complied with.
- Livewest HA v Bamber  EWCA Civ 1174
Nick, leading Tristan Salter, instructed by Capsticks on behalf of Livewest HA, won in the Court of Appeal. Livewest, a registered provider of social housing (RSPH), had granted Ms Bamber a 7-year fixed term assured shorthold tenancy (AST); in its first year, called the ‘starter period’, the tenancy Livewest could end the fixed-term tenancy with a break notice. Livewest exercised its break option and the tenancy became a statutory periodic AST. Livewest then sought possession using the HA 88, s. 21 procedure. The case concerned whether or not the new ss. 21(1A) and 21(1B) apply where a RPSH ended a fixed term AST of 2 years or more before the end of the term? The Court held that the requirement that an RSPH serve a 6-month’ notice before it can use the shorthold procedure to obtain possession only applies when the fixed-term tenancy has ended by effluxion of time.
- Toms v Ruberry  EWCA Civ 128
Nick represented Ms Ruberry, the tenant of licensed premises in this case which concerned the statutory interpretation of the Law of Property Act 1925, S. 146. The issue for the Court of Appeal was whether a landlord can serve a S. 146 Notice when the relevant breach that will, if it continues, give rise to a right of re-entry has arisen, or must wait until his right of re-entry has arisen. Surprisingly, given that ss. 146(1) is not explicit and a provision identical to that in S. 146 has been on the statute book since 1881, this issue had not previously been determined by either of the higher appellate courts. The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Tom’s appeal and accepted Nick’s submissions that the landlord’s right of re-entry in ss. 146(1) refers to a crystallised right of re-entry.
- Alibkhiet v Brent LBC  EWCA Civ 2742
This is the first appellate case considering out of area placements since the Supreme Court decision in Nzolameso  UKSC 22. In discharge of the full housing duty under s. 193 of the Housing Act 1996, Brent LBC offered Mr. Alibkhiet private rented sector accommodation in Smethwick, in the west Midlands. Mr. Alibkhiet rejected that offer. He was successful on his statutory appeal against Brent’s review decision that offer was lawful. Nick represented Brent on its successful appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Court accepted Nick’s submissions that notwithstanding that on the date that Brent made the offer of accommodation there had been available accommodation closer to Brent, the offer of accommodation in Smethwick was lawful and discharged the Council’s duty to Mr Alibkhiet.
- XPQ v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC  EWHC 1391
XPQ was a victim of people trafficking. She alleged that in performing housing duties to her LBH&F had breached duties to her under the EU Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and under the Human Rights Act 1996. Nick represented the LBH&F. He was successful in persuading the court that the Directive did not have direct effect as against LBH&F and that there had not been any breach of the Human Rights Act 1996. Following Nick’s cross-examination of XPQ the judge found that the incidents relied on by XPQ had probably not happened in any event.
- Enfield LB v Turner  EWHC 1341 (QB)
Ann Turner was not entitled to succeed to her mother’s secure tenancy. However, she was blind and disabled and had lived in her mother’s house for at least 10 years prior to her mother’s death. Ann Turner defended the possession claim brought by the LB Enfield on the basis of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Recorder dismissed this defence on the basis that LB Enfield was undertaking to re-house Ann Turner when it enforced the possession order. Nick represented Ann Turner on her appeal.
- Teign Housing Association v Lane  EWHC 40 (QB)
Mr Lane was Teign HA’s tenant of residential premises. He defended possession proceedings on the basis that he was disabled and that it would not be proportionate to make a possession order; i.e. Article 8. At first instance the judge found that notwithstanding that Mr Lane had behaved largely as alleged because of his lack of understanding of his tenancy condition and of communication with his landlord his actions did not amount to ‘a relevant breach of his tenancy agreement.’ Nick drafted grounds of appeal and permission to appeal was granted by the Circuit Judge. The appeal was successful before Dingemans J.
- LB Haringey v Ahmed & Ahmed  EWCA Civ 1861
The High Court judge found that Mr Ahmed was, on the basis of previous conduct, an agent for his wife Ms Ahmed in entering into a tenancy agreement and that she accordingly occupied premises pursuant to a tenancy executed by him but not her. Nick represented LB Haringey at trial and on subsequent successful appeal. The Court of Appeal held, on the basis of Nick’s cross-examination of Ms Ahmed at trial, that there was no evidence on which the judge could have found an agency. Ms Ahmed cross-appealed raising ratification and proportionality. Nick was successful and the Appeal and the cross appeals were dismissed.
- Bibi v Bibi & East End Homes (as Interested Party) (2017) County Court Appeal (Unreported)
Nick represented East End Homes, the interested party, in this action. The claim was brought by Mrs B Bibi against her daughter, Ms A Bibi. Mrs B Bibi sought possession of her flat, which was let to her by East End Homes. Ms A Bibi defended the claim on the basis of a proprietary estoppel. Following a trial the DJ found that there was an estoppel and ordered Mrs A Bibi to transfer her tenancy of the flat to Ms B Bibi. East End Homes was joined after the trial. East End Homes appealed against the DJ’s Order. Nick was successful on the appeal to the CJ, arguing that estoppel could not be used to enlarge Mrs Bibi’s rights under the tenancy and as she could not voluntarily have transferred her tenancy to her daughter the court could order her to do so.
- Devon & Cornwall HA v Bamber (2016) County Court Appeal (Unreported)
Ms Bamber was DCHA’s assured tenant of a flat. Her tenancy started as an AST and became an assured (non-shorthold) tenancy if she successfully completed the first year of her tenancy. The DJ held that ss. 21(1A) and 21(1B) had the effect that DCHA was not entitled to possession of the Flat because a notice under those sections had not been served. Nick drafted grounds of appeal and Skeleton Argument for DCHA, upon which grounds the Housing Association’s was successful on Appeal to the County Court. (Nick couldn’t do the appeal hearing because he was otherwise in court on the date of the Appeal).
- Holland v Oxford City Council: Trial before Master Bowles  EWHC 2545 (Ch)
Ms Holland claimed that her right to use two pitches at St Giles’ Fair were annual periodic tenancies and that the Council, in reducing the size of one of those pitches had derogated from its grant. Nick successfully argued that Ms Holland had only a licence of the pitches and that her apparent ‘security of tenure’ was based on her rights as a member of the Showmen’s’ Guild of Great Britain. Ms Holland has been refused permission to Appeal by Master Bowles.
- One Housing Group v PRs of Nunn (deceased) and Thomas: Appeal before HHJ Luba QC
Mr Thomas defended possession proceedings on the ground that he had succeeded to Mr Nunn’s assured tenancy under section 17 of the Housing Act 1988 on the basis that he and Mr Nunn had lived at the flat ‘as if they were civil partners’. At 1st instance the DJ applied a test analogous to that for ‘living together as if married’ which required the person asserting the fact to show ‘a mutual lifetime commitment’ (see e.g. Nutting v Southern Housing Group  EWHC 2983 (Ch); and Amicus Horizon Ltd. v Estate of Mabbott and Brand  EWCA Civ 895).
The DJ found that Mr Thomas’ continuing ideal of securing his own flat negatived the commitment required. On appeal Mr Thomas asserted that the DJ erred in applying the same test; in effect the test for living together as if married is based on the historical religious institution of marriage where the vows were ‘til death do us part’. Nick represented OHG on the appeal and successfully argued that the tests for living together as if married and living together as if civil partners are analogous. Mr Thomas has applied for permission to appeal. The test for living together as if civil partners has a wider application that just housing so permission may be granted.
- Brown v Haringey LBC  EWCA Civ 483
Committal, Article6, Right to a Fair Trial, Legal Aid.
Nick represented Haringey on Mr Brown’s appeal against his committal for contempt of court. The appeal concerned the availability of criminal legal aid for those accused of contempt of court and the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European convention on Human Rights.
- Akerman-Livingstone v Aster Communities Ltd  UKSC 15
Equality Act 2010, s.15, Disability Discrimination, Proportionality.
Nick successfully represented Aster Communities Ltd. on Mr Akerman-Livingstone’s appeals to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court against the summary dismissal of his discrimination defence against a possession claim. The case concerned the issue of ‘proportionality’ for the purposes of section 15 of the Equality Act 2010.
- Southend-on-sea BC v Armour  EWCA Civ 231
Article 8, Proportionality, Introductory Tenancy.
Nick represented Southend-on-Sea BC on appeal to the High Court and to the Court of Appeal against a first instance decision that Mr Armour had a good Article 8 defence to a possession claim on the grounds that he had, after the issue if the claim, not further breached his tenancy.
- Chishimba v RB Kensington & Chelsea  EWCA Civ 786
Homelessness, Housing Act 1996, International homelessness.
Nick was instructed by RBK&C on Ms. Chishimba’s statutory appeal and her appeal to the Court of Appeal against the council’s decision that she was intentionally homeless. RBKC has petitioned the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision; Nick drafted the grounds for that petition. The Supreme Court’s decision on whether to grant permission is awaited.
- Obiorah v Lewisham LBC  EWCA Civ 325
Homelessness, Housing Act 1996, discharge of duty.
Nick successfully represented LB Lewisham at 1st instance and on Ms Obiorah’s appeal to the Court of Appeal. Ms Obiorah had challenged Lewisham’s decision to discharge its housing duty to her.
- Ofogba v Southwark LBC  EWHC 1620 QB
Secure Tenancy, Housing Act 1985. Water Charges.
Nick was instructed by Southwark LBC in this possession claim. Mr Ofogba challenged the lawfulness of some of the sums which the Council has charged him in addition to his net rent, in particular the lawfulness of water charges recovered by Southwark on behalf of Thames Water. The Council won at 1st instance, Mr Ofogba’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was compromised.
- RB Kensington & Chelsea v Westwoods Ltd (2012) RPTS, London Tribunal, decision
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) referral to RPTS.
Nick represented RBK&C on this, the first referral by a criminal court for the determination of whether or not particular premises were an HMO for the purposes of the Housing Act 2004.
- LB Barnet v Phoenix & Others (2012) Barnet County Court
Nick successfully represented the LB Barnet in these possession proceedings against members of the occupy movement and others who defended the possession claim on the basis of Article 10 and 11. The Defendants’ application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused by a single judge.
- Southwark LBC v Francis  EWCA Civ 1418
Right to Buy, Housing Act 1985, duty of housing authority.
An appeal by Mr Francis against the 1st instance dismissal of his appeal for damages for Southwark LBC’s failure to admit his right to buy the flat of which he was the secure tenant.
Mr Francis’ appeal was dismissed.
- Brent LBC v Shulem B  EWHC 1663 (Ch)
Service charges, Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 s. 20B.
Shulem B’s appeal against an interlocutory decision concerning the construction of LTA 85, s. 20B. The appeal decision of Paul Morgan J. is the leading case on the requirements of a notice for the purpose of a notice under LTA 85, s. 20B(2). Nick, instructed by Brent, obtain permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal but the case settled before the appeal hearing.
- Nzamy v Brent LBC  EWCA Civ 283
Homelessness, Housing Act 1996, discharge of duty.
A second appeal by Ms Nzamy against the judges’s 1st instance decision dismissing her appeal.
- Haringey LBC v Hines  EWCA Civ 1111
Right to Buy, Housing Act 1985, deceit.
An appeal by Ms Hines against the judge’s 1st instance finding that she had not been entitled to exercise the right to buy.
- St. Pancras and Humanist Housing Association v Leonard  EWCA Civ 1442
Proprietary estoppel, adverse possession.
A claim for possession by an RSL of a substantial garage in Hampstead; the trespasser defended relying adverse possession and was opposed on estoppel. The RSL Nick represented won at 1st instance and on appeal.
- Compatriot Holdings Ltd. v Santos & Santos  EWCA Civ 683
Rent Act 1977; new tenancy of different premises.
Appeal on findings of fact of 1st instance judge.
- Title Gallions Housing Association v Various (> 400) LON/LV/21-32/05 (Judgment by Professor Farrand QC, dated 21.3.07)
Variation of Leases pursuant to s. 35 Landlord & Tenant Act 1987.
Gallions’ application to vary service charge recovery provisions of> 400 leases granted under Right to Buy provisions by different landlords including the GLC, the LRB and Thamesmead Town so as to regularise them; the applications succeeded.
- Denton v LB Southwark  EWCA Civ 623
Homelessness under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.
LB Southwark successfully appealed against the 1st instance decision that its s. 202 decision was unlawful and should be quashed. Definition of accommodation it would have been reasonable for the applicant to occupy for s. 191(1) where the applicant has breached ‘house rules’.
- LB Haringey v Hickey  EWCA Civ 373
Secure Tenancies under the Housing Act 1985.
The appeal concerned the construction of the provisions of paragraph 4 to Schedule 1 of the housing Act 1985 ‘exclusions to secure status’.
- Crest Nicholson Residential (South ) Limited v McAllister  Civ 410
Restrictive covenants and freehold land.
- Francis v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea  EWCA Civ 443
Subject/areas of law Section 204A Housing Act 1996; interim accommodation.
This case concerned the appropriate test to be applied on an application by an applicant for interim housing pending s. 204 Appeal and the court’s jurisdiction on such appeal.
In addition to his ‘important cases’ Nick is currently acting or has recently acted in cases concerning the following:
Large Residential Service Charges Claims
A service charge claim relating to more than 20 properties held by the members of a single family from the Howard de Walden Estate and involving alleged service charge arrears exceeding £250,000 which was listed for a ten day hearing. Nick represented the tenants.
Nick is representing a charity that is the freeholder of common lane on which an unlawful sub-tenant granted a telecommunications operator a lease to erect telecommunications equipment on a Mast Site. The Telecommunications operator’s sub-lease has expired and all intermediate leases have either expired or been determined; i.e. but for the rights under the Telecommunications Codes 2003 and 2017, the charity is entitled to possession of the Mast Site. The case concerns the operation of the Telecommunications Code 2017 and real property rights.
Farm Business Tenancy and HS2 Ltd
Nick represents a defendant Council in a claim brought the Council’s tenants under a Farm Business Tenants alleging misrepresentation and an estoppel. The case is complicated by the fact that a significant part of the farm is required by HS2 Ltd. for the HS2 development and various notices have been served in that respect.
Charitable Housing Trust Head-Leases
Nick is instructed on behalf of a charitable housing trust is the lessee under a number of head-leases from the same landlord of Victorian buildings that it sub-lets to residential occupiers; some of the occupiers are secure tenants and some are assured tenants. The head-leases are due to expire over the next 50 years, although some significantly earlier. The housing trust and freeholder are in negotiations for the grant of new head-leases; in those negotiations the freeholder wants the housing trust to surrender part of the land, including some of the flats, currently demised under the head leases. This case concerns the public law duties and contractual obligations of the housing trust to its secure and assured tenants and the status of those tenants if their flat is included in the land surrendered.
Nick has advised a City Council in relation to its rights over a city centre development site where the developer has been granted a development lease in relation to the site which has planning consent but has not carried out the development.
Nick has advised the purchasers of houses on a site which has, after their purchase, been determined to be contaminated land. The local planning authority knew about the contamination at the time when it granted planning consent for the development and included in the planning consent conditions that would have prevented contact between the residents and the contaminated land; i.e. the erection of a fence, but would not have remediated the contamination.
Installation of Sprinklers following Grenfell
Nick is acting for a Council in an application to the First-tier Tribunal for a declaration that the Council can, under the terms of residential leases, claim the relevant proportion of its costs of installation of sprinklers in the tower blocks in which the relevant flats are situated.
Nick has acted for commercial landlord and tenant clients on mediation in particular in relation to service charges
Nick is on the Committee of the Social Housing Law Association and is a member of the Property Bar Association.