Developments which involve an increase in the height or massing of a property may be at risk of infringing the light enjoyed by surrounding properties. This can lead to serious financial issues for the developers of such new buildings.
Whether the developer intends on proactively negotiating with the affected parties or plans to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach to the risk, significant legal and professional fees can be incurred. This is in addition to the cost of any settlement entered into and potential catastrophic losses following an injunction.
The tendency of the legal system to enforce injunctions against the developer rather than compensate the injured parties can be traced back to the most noticeable case of HKRUK II v Heaney (Osborne Clark, 2010*). This decision illustrates how important it is for developers to resolve any right to light issues before incurring significant expenditure on building works. The consequences of an injunction will in most cases be even more costly than a damages claim – particularly if it involves demolition of part of a completed building.
However, the right indemnity cover can provide protection against the financial consequences of a right of light conflict. One Guarantee offers Rights of Light cover for developers to protect against the costs incurred from a third party making a right to light claim. This can provide the peace of mind to allow a development to go ahead and is therefore an essential consideration for all development planning.To speak to a member of our One Guarantee team about Rights of Light insurance, please call 01603 218288 or email us.
*Osborne Clark, 2010 - http://www.osborneclarke.com