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Right to Light Insurance

Building a development that infringes someone’s right to light could result in significant damages and even demolition. At Towergate, we have the expertise to assist in tailoring bespoke right to light insurance to suit the specific requirements of your development, whilst obtaining terms at competitive premiums.

What is right to light?

A right to light is an easement granted to a freeholder (or leaseholder or tenant, by assignment) which grants them the legal right to enjoy a reasonable amount of natural light to a building. This isn’t acquired automatically by a property owner, but there are various methods by which it can be acquired. The most common is through continuous enjoyment of light through a defined aperture for at least 20 years.

Where the owner has acquired this right, if a new building restricts the light, causing it to fall below the acceptable level, then the development could be considered an obstruction to their right to light. The right attaches to the apertures of the building themselves, and – as long as the position of those apertures stays the same – it remains with those apertures even if the original building is demolished and another new building is developed in its place.

Why do you need right to lights insurance?

Nearby development of new or existing property can cause an infringement to the level of light received by neighbouring buildings, an infringement which is actionable and can be enforced through the courts (even if planning permission has already been approved by the local authority).

How can enforceable rights to light be obtained?

Nearby development of new or existing property can cause an infringement to the level of light received by neighbouring buildings, an infringement which is actionable and can be enforced through the courts (even if planning permission has already been approved by the local authority).

An enforceable right to light can be acquired in several ways:

  • Grant by expression – the right is written specifically in the title deed provisions, lease or transfer
  • Grant by implication – the underlying rationale is to confer the right, although this is not expressly stated
  • By prescription – the right is accrued over a 20-year uninterrupted period of enjoyment (Prescription Act 1832)

Managing the risk of right to lights

There are several options available to a developer to manage their liability and address right to light infringement:

  • Take no action
  • Issuance of a light obstruction notice
  • Neighbourly discussion
  • Local authority appropriation
  • Right to light insurance

Rights to light indemnity cover

An indemnity insurance policy is seen by many developers as the most effective way to manage the risks inherent to rights to light. By obtaining tailored terms, a greater level of accuracy of budgeting and profit assessment can be achieved, and lender risk concerns can be satisfied.

The policy can be structured in two ways;

  1. ‘Wait and see’ basis - does not allow any contact with neighbouring injured properties, but provides full indemnity for any claim up to the limit of indemnity (usually the GDV)
  2. ‘Agreed conduct’ basis - this type of structure allows developers to approach injured parties and negotiate away their rights. The policy would be subject to an excess to cover those compensatory payments but would pay out should negotiations surpass the excess figure or if matters progress beyond discussions into Court proceedings.

To avoid any uncertainty and ensure your developments are not brought down by neighbouring properties’ right to light, consider a bespoke rights to light policy.

Right to lights insurance from Towergate

Get a right to light insurance quote

Alternatively call Louise Jones LLB (Hons) Dip CII on 07896 648 866 or 029 2044 1289.

Legal indemnity insurance from Towergate

We can also offer wider legal indemnity insurance, including specialist advice and right of light indemnity cover, for real estate law firms and their clients.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Update for Towergate customers


During the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis, we want to reassure our customers and partners that we are following UK Government guidance,
and as a result our national offices are closed to both safeguard the health of our employees and our ability to look after our valued clients.
Where possible, our employees are working from home and we are still fully able to support with renewals, new cover requirements and
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