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Ignoring ‘Rights of Light’ – Development Risks

If surrounding properties have an existing Rights of Light over the development site, this right should not simply be ignored.

Ignoring Rights of Light Implications

Claims for Damages:

An affected party would be entitled to compensation for their loss. This could be by negotiated settlement or by order of a court.

Injunction:

A party due to be affected could obtain an injunction to prevent the development commencing.

A party already affected could halt the works and/or require the offending parts to be removed.

Measuring / Valuing Loss

A detailed analysis of the site and surrounding properties will be needed, to understand the impact of the development on neighbouring buildings.

As a starting point a simple no-sky-line exercise can be undertaken.

Full Equivalent First Zone (EFZ) analysis will however provide and estimated measure of the loss to each neighbouring property and indicate:

  • Which rooms / properties will be subject to ‘actionable injury’
  • Quantify the loss

An EFZ table is produced which is calculated by applying a greater weight to the part of the room nearest the window (expected to be well lit), with reducing weighting further into the room. ‘Parasitic’ losses are also included, which are areas which in themselves are either of little value, or would not be actionable, but should be accounted for due to the actionable injury.

Once the loss is quantified, a valuation (£/sq ft) figure can be applied.

Alternative Approaches

There are however two ways of avoiding the risk of Injunctions and Damages claims:

  1. If the affected property has acquired their right by prescription, a Light obstruction notice, or an actual physical obstruction can be used. If this remains in place for more than 1 year (without objection), then the right is lost.
  2. Where a local authority has an interest in the project or property, the affected owners will be entitled to compulsory purchase compensation only; which is likely to be lower than settlement or damages calculated by other means.

If you require advice on Rights to Light affecting your developments, get in touch with our Head of Neighbourly Matters, Vince Rimmer.

T: 01772 5628800

E: v.rimmer@andertongables.co.uk