Rights of light—insurance for developers
Rights of light—insurance for developers

The following Property Disputes practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Rights of light—insurance for developers
  • The importance of assessing rights of light
  • Developer’s options
  • Preparing to obtain insurance
  • What will insurance cover?
  • Contact with neighbouring owners
  • What factors may insurers assess when looking at the risk of a claim
  • Other points to check
  • Possible reform

Rights of light—insurance for developers

This Practice Note sets out the issues that a developer should consider in respect of rights of light (ROL) insurance and the common requirements, terms and coverage of a ROL indemnity insurance policy.

The importance of assessing rights of light

The likely infringement of rights of light is of crucial importance to a developer when proposing a new build or an extension to an existing building.

Following the case of Heaney, it is clear that the courts may no longer simply award compensation to the injured parties and may be more inclined to grant an injunction against a developer, even if the property has already been built. See Practice Note: Rights of light claims.

While the costs of compensation can be significant (often being based on up to 30% of a developer’s profit), this is still usually less than the costs of an injunction, especially if a building (or part of it) has to be demolished following completion and occupation.

Developer’s options

When faced with a potential ROL claim, a developer has a choice of whether to:

  1. talk to the parties affected and take a pro-active stance by commencing negotiations

  2. issue light obstruction notices where possible—see Practice Note: Rights of light—obstruction notices

  3. consider whether it has the ability to use section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to override any ROL—see Practice Note: Overriding

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