Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Manchester 0844 800 8346

Office Number 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Breach of Property Rights – a note for property developers

1st December, 2016

This article discusses breach of Property Rights – in Particular Rights to Light – and is a note for property developers.

A recent case has cemented the approach of the court in right to light claims, namely whether damages or an injunction will be awarded in relation to a successful claim.

Scott –v- Aimiuwu (2015) supports and builds upon the decision that was reached in the 2014 case of Coventry –v- Lawrence, in which the Supreme Court voiced its approval of a flexible approach to remedies in a successful claim for breaches of property rights, as opposed to the ‘status quo’ approach, in which the default position was that an injunction should be awarded unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.

The facts of the Scott v Aimiuwu case are set out below.

Mr and Mrs Aimiuwu and Mr and Mrs Scott owned adjoining properties. The Aimiuwus built a large extension to the rear of their property, which interfered with the light to some rear/side windows of the Scott’s property. The Scotts did not take any legal action whilst the works were ongoing, but subsequently issued proceedings against the Aimiuwus, asking the court to grant an injunction requiring them to cut back their extension by a significant amount, in order to rectify the light issue.

The court held that that an injunction was inappropriate, and instead awarded damages of just over £30,000. Amongst other things, the reasoning behind that decision was as follows:

  • An injunction which required demolition of part of the property would be ‘oppressive and punitive’
  • The interference to light was only to ‘secondary accommodation’ i.e a garage, bathroom and utility room, as opposed to a living room or bedroom
  • The Aimiuwus had obtained planning permission as well as expert advice stating that the interference to light was not material. They therefore had a genuine belief that they were entitled to proceed with the works.
  • The damages awarded should reflect not a share of the profit gained from the extension, but ought to be limited to compensation for loss incurred by the Scotts.

In conclusion, the case is a positive outcome for those who wish to develop their properties. As long as the interference is only to ‘secondary accommodation’, and expert evidence has been obtained suggesting that the interference to light is not material, developers can more confidently proceed with their works in the knowledge that an injunction is not likely to be ordered if objections in relation to interference with light are raised further down the line. Developers will also be able to rely on this case in relation to the sum of damages awarded (i.e. compensatory as opposed to profit-based), and this ought to alleviate concerns that adjoining owners can relatively easily claim a share in their profits.

Article author: Sophie Greensill, Dispute Resolution & Insolvency Litigation Executive.

For specific advice concerning individual situations please contact Nick Clarke at Aaron & Partners LLP.

Nick Clarke

Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution & Insolvency
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405558

 

You might also be interested in...

Opening up the Market in the United Arab Emirates

10th September, 2018

This is the first in a series of  6 articles with regards to establishing a business in the... Read More »

What to do if you receive a statutory demand…

9th August, 2018

We have been approached by a number of clients who have received a statutory demand, either personally or to their company, and they have asked us what to do about it. One business was contacted by a company demanding payment of a debt owed under a contract for TV advertising in a shopping mall.  We presume – but... Read More »

Farming solicitor Ben Brassington joins top law firm in Shrewsbury

3rd August, 2018

Agriculture and Estates specialist Ben Brassington has strengthened the services offered by Top 200 legal firm Aaron & Partners LLP A dairy farmer with more than 18 years’ experience as a Partner in his family’s farming business has been appointed by a top legal firm in Shrewsbury. Ben Brassington, who has also been working for several years as... Read More »

Contact Us