Interested in finding out more about Right to Light insurance in the UK? Read this guide for all the information on Right to Light and the best insurance companies.
What is Right to Light?
Right to light is an ‘easement’ or right in England for a longtime landowner to continue to receive natural daylight into a property or land.
Either referred to as Right to Light or Right of Light and generally falls under the Prescription Act 1832 which covers the method of acquiring easement – the right to enter onto property without possessing it.
In effect Right to Light is a right of way for sunlight.
Sometimes you can find a Right to Light specific in the title documents for a property but even if it is not written into the title the law can still be applied to older buildings, usually at least 20 years old.
Conflicts usually arise when new developments plan to or physically block light from another landowner.
What is Right to Light Insurance?
Right to Light insurance is for developers, new builds and landowners who run the risk of blocking someone else’s light.
It protects you from financial claims and lawsuits where a neighbour believes their light has been or will be reduced.
Why Do You Need Right to Light Insurance?
Right to Light can cause a lot of problems at various stages of new developments from the planning stage through to completion of a project.
Developments can be prevented from even getting started and planning permission can be denied or substantial financial damages can be won in court for infringements.
Any claims can cost you money simply fighting the case in court with expensive legal fees. Should you lose a Right to Light case there can also be devastating financial burdens.
Profitability of a completed project can be drastically reduced with damages of around 30% of profitability being awarded to a claimant.
Plans may need altering during a project to ensure you are not infringing on Right to Light.
Developments can be stopped completely leaving investors frustrated and out of pocket.
In the worst-case scenario, the building can be demolished completely leaving you a bill for legal fees, damages, construction and demolition.
Right to Light insurance is designed to cover all of these risks so if a problem does occur you are fully covered financially.
It is also worth noting that risks of infringing on light now extends to commercial properties after a new courtroom precedent was set in 2010 in the HKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney case
What it covers?
Right to Light insurance policies generally cover the following things:
- Legal costs
- Compensation settlements
- Loss of land/property value
- Alterations to projects
- Abortive Costs
What Do Insurers Need to Know?
Before you can purchase a Right to Light insurance policy your insurer needs an in-depth survey to assess the risks. This is done by a specialist surveyor who understands the unique aspects of the law.
A well put together Right to Light survey should include:
Calculations of infringement
This means mathematically calculating whether or not somebody’s light is being blocked. Quite often this is assessed in the planning stage using something called the 45-degree rule. Put simply, this is an imaginary line running at 45 degrees from the middle of the neighbours closets window across the boundary. Your building should not cross the line.
You should be aware that in legal disputes the 50:50 rule generally applies.
If a claim does arise then you are at the mercy of the courts. A judge can put any number of injunctions on a project requiring a project to be halted or buildings to be adjusted.
The survey should also take into account estimates of what compensation could be awarded in the event Right to Light is infringed upon. This has been known to be as much as 30% of the profits of a project. So this number will vary depending on the size of development and potential claims.
Costs of Cutback
How much will it cost to the developer to remove or reduce the infringement. This is costly in a number of ways both in the redevelopment of a building and potential loss in profitability.
The surveyor should also offer you advice on how to deal with potential Right to Light problems and how to best mitigate the risks.
How Much Does Right to Light Insurance Cost?
Premiums for a right to light insurance policy vary massively depending on the size of development and potential risks.
Many factors come into play, as we discussed above in the reports and surveys, in order to calculate the cost of right to light insurance.
Premiums generally start at least £3000 for smaller projects. Naturally, the cost rises for bigger developments. For a rough guide, you could be looking at around £10,000 for a £1 million house build.
Best Right to Light Insurance Companies
The Clear Group / Clear Insurance Management
The Clear Group lead the industry in delivering business, property and professional insurance including Right to Light cover.
Anyone can sell you an insurance policy but The Clear Group goes above and beyond to create the best cover for their customers.
At the core of the business is a distinct set of values influencing the way they behave and the service they provide.
Headquartered in London, The Clear Group specialize in insurance for businesses, property and professional services.
One thing to really love about them is an impressive 4.8 rating on TrustPilot from well over 800 reviews. Take the time to read the reviews and you’ll see many happy customers who value respect, professionalism, human relationships and repeat business. For any bad reviews, the customer service team are active, replying to help resolve the situation. Their website also offers a nice balance of modern usability mixed with a personal touch and feel.
The Clear Group works really hard to help you navigate the small print jargon-filled world of insurance. All of this even means they were made Insurance Broker of the Year and Commercial Lines Broker of the year at the Insurance Age UK Broker Awards in 2019
Registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on number 307982
Lawsure Insurance provides innovative business insurance for solicitors and their clients. The British company are experts in business instances with a particular focus of Title insurance for solicitors and developers.
A focus in dealing with solicitors means they work hard to remove pressures of legal compliance for clients.
As you would expect from a high-quality insurance broker Lawsure have long standing relationships with all of the leading insurers in the related areas of business.
Offices across the UK in Crawley, Manchester and Glasgow make them a good choice to cover your needs countrywide plus a helpful informative website shows their high level of expertise.
There’s a lot to like about Lawsure in finding Right to Light insurance with their prowess in Title protection for residential and commercial properties mixed with close attention to regulatory compliance.
Lawsure Insurance is registered with the FCA under number 533855.
RMK Insurance makes the cut for Right to Light insurance thanks to their specialism in a range of business insurance including property.
This insurance consultancy firm was established in 1992 by Michael Richards and Kevin Radford who have gone on to create a reputable business. RMK is a member of The British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), plus Global Risk Partners Limited (GRP), one of the UK’s biggest independent insurance broker groups.
Adding to this strong experience are a number of factors which make them leaders in providing Right to Light insurance. There’s a ton of helpful information on the RMK website while also being partnered with big names such as RV, Aviva, Axa, Allianz
Over on Google reviews, they maintain a 4.9 out of 5 rating with several comments raving about the company’s trustworthy nature, knowledgeable team and comprehensive approach to insurance.
RMK really does seem to take the time to make sure you’re properly covered with a policy tailored to your needs.
One thing to note is a fee of £300 to investigate Right to Light cover, although this is reimbursed if you make a purchase.
RMK is registered under FCA number 303978.
That’s it, everything you need to know about Right to Light insurance. If you’re embarking on a new building project or development which runs the risk of blocking light of neighbors then it may be wise to speak to an insurance expert about a policy to cover the risks.