Law Commission publishes proposals for rights to light reform – have your say

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The Law Commission has published its Consultation Paper on rights to light reform.  The consultation period runs until 16 May 2013.

The Paper responds to suggestions that the law and practice of rights to light has become unduly cumbersome and may have a disproportionately negative impact on the development and redevelopment of urban land schemes.

The proposals are:

  • abolition of the ability to acquire rights of light by long use (known as prescription);
  •  a new statutory test to be used by the courts when assessing whether to order a party to:

    • stop building works; or
    • demolish building works; or
    • pay compensation for the impact of building works continuing or remaining;

  • a new statutory notice procedure available to developers to require affected landowners to take action if they want an order to prevent building works proceeding and in default of taking action to lose their right to such an order;
  • extending the powers of the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal so as to enable it to modify or discharge existing private property rights of light which are considered obsolete or of no practical benefit.

Each of the proposals warrant careful consideration both from a developer’s and land owner’s perspective.

BLP has extensive experience of identifying rights of light risk whether for developers or investors and of dealing with potential or actual rights of light disputes . We were delighted to have dialogue with the Law Commission at an early stage to share our views on a range of topics.  We continue to work with the Association of Light Practitioners in formulating their response to the consultation.

The Law Commission also seek evidence illustrating the impact of rights to light claims in:

  • costs of disputes;
  • funding appraisals;
  • development delay; and
  • valuation terms.

BLP welcomes the opportunity provided by Government to shape the reform of this area of English property law and are holding a roundtable breakfast meeting on 21 March 2013 which you are very welcome to attend.

If you have any questions please call Wendy Miller, Rashpal Soomal or your usual BLP contact.

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