A multimillionaire wine tycoon is locked in a High Court fight after his wealthy neighbour sued him for not putting up curtains in his £3.2m Kensington flat. 

Rollo Gabb (55) who runs the vineyards behind Journey’s End & Kumala drew the ire from Meghdad Farrokhzad a neighbor who claimed that the wine importer had broken rules about what type of curtains and flooring he could use in his Kensington flat.

When Mr Gabb, whose celebrated Stellenbosch region wines are carried by Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s, bought the luxury flat in 2007, he agreed to rules in the putting limits on how he could kit out his property.

According to the rules, the three-storey luxury flat must be carpeted with proper curtains in a manner that is appropriate for a private high-class residence.

However, Mr Farrokhzad, who also bought the freehold in the building with Mr Gabb in 2020 and an art gallery under his flat, complained about the fact that Mr Gabb had violated the curtain rule. 

Gabb, 50 years old, launched a bid for the eviction of Gabb’s lease but was unsuccessful in April 2011.

However, he has been sued by Mr Gabb. He claims that Mr Farrokhzad was trying to prevent him from selling his apartment.

Rollo Gabb outside High Court

Meghdad Farrokhzad outside High Court

Rollo Gabb (50) was the target of Meghdad Farrokhzad, a neighbour who claimed that the wine importer had broken rules about what type of floor and curtains he could use in his Kensington apartment.

Mr Farrokhzad - who acquired the freehold of the building at the same time he bought an art gallery underneath Mr Gabb's flat in 2020 - complained that his new neighbour had broken the curtain rule, as well as others

Farrokhzad, who bought the building’s freehold in the same year as he purchased an art gallery under Mr Gabb’s apartment in 2020, complained about his neighbour breaking the curtain rule and other rules.

According to Mr Gabb, Mr Farrokhzad (41), has acted ‘unreasonably in blocking his efforts to sell the flat. This caused a multimillion-pound sale to fail and put another at risk.

The businessman who controls the lease transfer for the flat, wants to be forced by a judge approve of the sale.

It is not possible to withhold consent for the transfer of lease. However, Mr Gabb asserts that his neighbour is trying to force him to do so in order to make their flat less desirable due to falling out.

Farrokhzad, however, denies that he’s done anything unreasonable and, while he wouldn’t block the exit of his neighbour, would love for him to go and end their strained relationships.

His luxury apartment, consisting of three floors on the top floor and a roof terrace was purchased by Mr Gabb in 2007 as part of a wine family dynasty that founded high-end booze brands such as Kumala.

In 2020, Mr Farrokhzad purchased the gallery and freehold. The friction began when Mr Gabb opposed the application of his neighbor to convert the ground-floor unit into a sushi bar licensed by the state.

When Mr Farrokhzad took Mr Gabb to a tribunal judge, he tried to take away his lease because he had broken the covenants.

He claimed that his neighbor had lost his lease right due to “an absence of fabric curtains” – instead, the wine boss had put up wooden shutters at some of his windows.

According to the businessman, shutters had been installed in violation of a covenant that required the landlord of the flat to “keep the windows properly draped in a manner appropriate for a private high-class residence”.

Farrokhzad claimed that his neighbor had broken another covenant, which required the apartment be fitted entirely with carpets except in the bathroom. He also requested the installation of wood or stone flooring.

After hearing from Mr Farrokhzad that he had been granted permission to install the hard flooring and shutters by the former freeholder and later had put up curtains without shutters in the windows, the tribunal dismissed his case.

However, the conflict continued. Mr Gabb dragged his neighbour to High Court last week and blamed him for his ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in a multimillion-pound sales of his flat.

Joanne Wicks QC, Mr Gabb’s barrister, told Judge Simon Gleeson “The campaign against Mr Gabb began with a solicitors letter on Christmas Eve 2020 that was sent out of the blue. The letter stated that Gabb violated the covenants in his lease because he had installed wood flooring and failed to properly drape windows.

“Mr Gabb wanted to sell the flat in the fall of 2020, but he was motivated, either by his desire to own the flat and/or his anger at Mr Gabb’s rejection of the late-night alcohol license, by Mr Farrokhzad, who has tried to stop any sale.

She stated that Mr Farrokhzad had received repeated requests for consent to transfer the leasehold to another owner ‘with an assortment of spurious claims.

She claimed that in a bid to make life difficult for his neighbour Mr Farrokhzad had insisted on informing prospective buyers that they would be liable for all or part of an impending £388,000 bill for repairs to the ‘common parts’ of the building.

She claimed that it had put Mr Gabb in danger of losing an offer from a wealthy buyer who was interested in the apartment.

She concluded that Farrokhzad was a reasonable fearful of making the flat unsellable. The judge ordered damages to the victim and an injunction for the defendant to agree to the sale.

Andrew Butler QC was appointed to represent Mr Farrokhzad. He denied that the accused had behaved unreasonable.

He also denied that his behavior caused any loss in the offer of the flat and maintained that Mr Gabb did not suffer any loss.

Barrister said to the judge that there wasn’t any need for injunction or damages.

“Mr Farrokhzad accepts an assignment and is open to the possibility of a change. He also acknowledges that his relationship was strained with Mr Gabb.

In relation to the works on the common parts of the building he told the judge: ‘The anticipated cost of works is £388,237.61. It will be either the sole responsibility of the tenant or jointly between the parties. These costs have historically been borne by the tenant at 60%.

‘Mr Farrokhzad doesn’t have any particular interest in keeping Mr Gabb his tenant. He just wants to protect his interests and ensure an intruder isn’t taken by surprise at the costs of any works that might be necessary.

According to him, Mr Farrokhzad would allow the transfer of the lease subject to certain conditions. For example, the buyer must provide a reference that proves that they can afford the costs associated with the work.

The judge was told by Mr Gabb’s lawyer that the barrister is unsure what buyer or him would be paying.

She said that because the demise of the (flat) also includes its external structural elements and the lack of shared entry or other parts as well as the absence or limited availability of shared services, the common use of these items is unlikely.

After a hearing lasting two days, the judge decided to reserve his decision. A final ruling will be made at a later time.