- Alcester Office +44 (0)1789 765522
- Bedford Office +44 (0)1234 400000
- Cardiff Office +44 (0)2920 291 704
- Evesham Office +44 (0)1386 425300
- Hindley Office +44 (0)1942 257930
- Leicester Office +44 (0)116 255 9911
- Leigh Office +44 (0)1942 673311
- Lichfield Office +44 (0)1543 414426
- London Office +44 (0)20 7293 0998
- Luton Office +44 (0)1582 720175
- Northampton Office +44 (0)1604 233 200
- Redditch Office +44 (0)1527 406363
- Solihull Office +44 (0)121 705 2255
- Stopsley Office +44 (0)1582 453 366
- Stratford-upon-Avon Office +44 (0)1789 270 452
- Sutton Coldfield Office +44 (0)121 355 6118
- Tunbridge Wells Office +44 (0)844 556 3525
- Walkden Office +44 (0)161 790 1411
- Walsall Office +44 (0)1922 720000
- Walsall Office - Crime Dept +44 (0)1922 647 797
- Warrington Office +44 (0)1925 632267
- Westhoughton Office +44 (0)1942 816515
- Whitefield Office +44 (0)161 796 7920
- Wigan Office +44 (0)1942 244294
Compensation for Loss of Light
Following a recent case in which a dispute regarding a property owner’s right to light was unexpectedly dealt with by the granting of an injunction against a developer, a more recent case has offered guidance on how much compensation might be payable by a developer who takes the light of another property in the more normal circumstance in which the court rules that compensation is payable.
The principles which will normally apply in assessing the damages payable are that they should be:
- fair – in other words, an amount such as would be likely to be agreed following negotiations between the interested parties;
- appropriate bearing in mind the context of the breach and its nature;
- made with the awareness of the strength of the bargaining position that is created by the right to claim injunctive relief, thus preventing or limiting a development, and the profit that thereby might accrue to the person able to claim the injunctive relief;
- based on a fair percentage of the anticipated size of the profit, but if the profit is not known, the appropriate measure is a suitable multiple based on the loss of amenity;
- not so large that the development would not have gone ahead had it been payable; and
- fitting in the circumstances, after taking into consideration all the other relevant factors.
In the case in point, the court awarded the applicant a sum estimated to be 30 per cent of the developer’s expected profits. If unchallenged, the practical implication of this case is that developers whose developments are likely to take the light of adjacent property owners should be aware that failing to negotiate a favourable position at the outset might lead to a considerable reduction in the development profit should the matter end up being decided in court.
In a more recent case, the court ordered that the builder of an office block must demolish the top two stories (part of which were already tenanted) because they took the light of a nearby listed building. This decision is currently under appeal. Unless specifically granted, the right to light can be very difficult to establish and in a 2012 case it was ruled that where such a right is established by way of an 'easement' (normally where there has been 20 years' uninterrupted access to light), the easement does not transfer to a new owner of the affected property.
If loss of light is an issue for you, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has issued guidance for its members which will make informative reading.