RMK deal with all of the leading Rights of Lights insurers in this resticted field and can co-ordinate presentations and quotations from these insurers to assist you in obtaining the most competitive price for your development. Please note that premiums for rights of light indemnity insurance generally start at £10,000 so are more suitable for larger developments.
Rights of Light indemnity insurance protects against costs and expenses associated with loss of light to neighbouring premises.
These rights of light can arise -
· By prescription at common law
· By the doctrine of Lost Modern Grant
· By prescription und the Prescription Act 1832
A right of light is most commonly acquired by an easement of light under Section III of the Prescription Act 1832. For an aperture to acquire a right of light, it must have enjoyed that light for 20 years or more in an uninterrupted fashion. The right of light is not absolute and it is the amount of light that a room is left with as opposed to that which is lost that is relevant. If there is sufficient light left then no nuisance or injury will have been caused.
Recent relevant right of light case law is HKRUK v. Marcus Alexander Heaney (2010).
If you are developing a property you should be aware that your neighbours have a Right of Light. This means that if your development affects the light they receive they may be entitled to compensation. You can decide to try and identify all the affected parties and seek to negotiate with them prior to development. This can be time consuming, costly and uncertain since it is difficult to identify all of the affected interests. For example there may be freeholders, leaseholders and other financial interest which can be difficult to identify.
The rights of remedy in a right of light action can be an injunction with the two main types being a Prohibitory Injunction whereby the developer could be prevented from erecting the obstruction or Mandatory Injunction whereby the developer could be forced to remove the obstruction. Where there are cases of urgency an Interlocutory Injunction can be sought by the dominant tenement if he can show, prima facie, that his rights of light are likely to be injured. This form of Injunction is nearly always accompanied by a cross-undertaking for damages, given by the plaintiff, to the defendant. Alternatively the remedy for a rights of light action could be monetary compensation
The use of neighbouring property can be a factor in deciding the detrimental affect. As you would expect residential occupants would have a greater expectation of a right of light than a commercial tenant but nevertheless they can both suffer damage and expect compensation. An affected neighbour could take out an enforcement action in respect of their right of light and the threat of this or an injunction can have serious financial implications for your development. Many developers now choose to arrange Rights of Light Indemnity Insurance to provide cover against the affects of an injunction or enforcement action.
Michael Richards FCII on 01702 426350
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