Millionaire travel tycoon sues luxury flat owner for £100k over lack of broadband

Tristan Kirk
Stephen Shalson outside Central London County Court: Champion News

A millionaire travel tycoon who resorted to using a library and internet cafe to get online when his apartment did not have broadband is suing for almost £100,000 in damages.

Stephen Shalson, 70, says he was promised his £2.95 million deluxe flat on the 30th floor of The Heron, Barbican, would be “wired for Sky TV and internet” from the moment he moved in, in February 2014.

But Mr Shalson said he was infuriated when he discovered he could not get online and had to use the library, his brother’s home and an internet cafe in Kings Cross to access the internet.

The businessman, who once ran a company selling Concorde holidays, claims he endured “about a thousand days” of misery until a Hyperoptic connection was installed in October 2016.

He is now suing the freehold owners of the building, Heron Residences LLP, for £97,300, accusing them of breach of contract by allegedly failing to provide proper internet facilities.

According to defence papers lodged at Central London County Court, Heron argues it was not in the terms of the sale contract or Mr Shalson’s lease on the three-bedroom apartment that it would be wired for broadband.

Mr Shalson’s barrister, Daniel Goodkin, told the court: “When he moved in the apartment had no internet facility of any sort, including fibre broadband or Hyperoptic ...

"Given the price of the apartment, the fact that it was a new luxury development and its situation in central London, it was so obvious as not to require express statement that the apartment would have a good quality internet service available in all rooms from the time he purchased it.”

Mr Shalson claims he had to use his own 4G connection to try to access the internet, but his connection was so slow he could not send or receive emails.

Heron Residences is fighting the compensation claim, denying that “cabling for data services” was part of a clause in the sale contract.

It also denies that Mr Shalson was told through conveyancing solicitors that the apartment would be wired up and there would be broadband in all rooms.

The company’s barrister Robert Bowker argued having an internet connection from the time of purchase was “not an outstanding obligation or provision in the contract of sale”.

At a pre-trial hearing last week, Mr Bowker argued for the case to be thrown out as several of the issues were previously dealt with in earlier litigation relating to payment of service charges.

Judge Richard Roberts ruled that the case was separate and could go ahead to a full trial next year.

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