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Howard Smith

| Call 1986

Profile: Property

Experience and Expertise

Howard’s work involves in all aspects of property law, particularly those involving complex legal issues, and he appears regularly in the High Court and County Courts, before the Land Registry Adjudicator and in tribunals.

Landlord and Tenant: Howard acts on behalf of landlords and on behalf of tenants. He often acts in commercial lease renewals and disputes under the Landlord & Tenants Act 1954, dilapidations claims, breach of covenant claims, and renewal and repair claims. He was counsel for the applicant in Landmaster Properties Ltd v Thackeray Property Services Ltd [2004] L&TR 4, 2EGLR 30 (on the scope of claims under the Leasehold Property Repairs Act 1938). He also acts in residential landlord & tenant disputes, service charge disputes and LVT proceedings. He is frequently instructed on claims requiring interim injunctions.

Boundary disputes: he has appeared in numerous boundary disputes and was counsel for the successful party in Joyce v Rigolli 1 P&CR 22, in which the Court of Appeal dealt with the applicability of de minimis principles in contracts for transfer of land under s.2 of the Law of Property (Amendment) Act 1989, and which was the first case to apply principles of boundary agreements in relation to registered land.

Conveyancing & Land Registration: Howard is often retained in relation to conveyancing matters, both advisory and in conveyancing disputes. He is commonly instructed in relation to disputes arising out of auction contracts and notices to complete, where advice and court proceedings are often required urgently. He also acts in relation to disputes under s.2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (validity of contracts for dispositions of interests in land). He advises on and acts in all cases involving land registration and the Land Registration Act 2002.

Leasehold Enfranchisement: Howard acts in all areas of leasehold enfranchisement, under the 1967 Act and claims for collective enfranchisement and individual enfranchisement under the Leasehold Reform, Housing & Urban Development Act 1993. He was counsel for the successful party in Wellcome Trust v Bellhurst [2003] HLR 10, L&TR 8 (leasehold enfranchisement and service of notices, Court of Appeal).

Adverse possession: Howard is frequently instructed in adverse possession claims, both in court and before the Land Registry Adjudicator.

Party Walls: Howard has often acted in party wall disputes in the High Court and County Court, including obtaining interlocutory injunctions to prevent or remove works in breach of the Party Walls etc Act 1996, removal of special foundations, appeals from awards and costs disputes. He was the barrister member of the RICS working group which produced the RICS Party Walls Guidance Note (2012).

Rights of Light & Easements: Howard advises in relation to rights of light issues and acts in rights of light disputes. He was the barrister member of the RICS working group which produced RICS Rights of Light Guidance Note (2011). He is currently co-authoring a book on rights of light.

He also acts in relation to easements & profits a prendre, including rights of way, water rights, drainage rights, as well as commons disputes and highway disputes.

Howard also acts in restrictive covenant disputes both in court and in the Land Tribunal, including in relation to the enforcement and modification of restrictive covenants; trusts of land and co-ownership disputes; estoppel & proprietary estoppel claims.

Howard Smith