Rights to Light – Don’t be left in the dark!

The right to light is a subject understood by very few, yet many property owners (householders and developers) could be concerned by it at least once in their lifetime. As land in city centres becomes more valuable and demand for space increases, so developers want to build larger blocks with a greater density to maximise profit. Inevitably, this means building out to closer to neighbouring buildings or increasing the height and more often than not both!

Developers have found to their own cost that that the owners next door have taken exception to the development and years of planning have been brought to a halt; it is quite literally ‘back to the drawing board’ in most cases when an injury is incurred. One of the most frequent objections to a planning proposal in a residential area is the effect on the light – ‘my kitchen will be plunged into darkness’, ‘the garden will hardly get sun any more’ and similar complaints.

A Right of Light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832. Unlike right to freedom from smell and noise, a Right of Light has to be acquired before it can be enforced.

We travel throughout the UK and our Assessments begin from ONLY £350 !

Natural light is a commodity that can be bought, sold or even transferred between parties. Rights can be registered, granted by deed or simply acquired by having a minimum of 20 years enjoyment of light through a window or opening. Once a window has received over 20 years of unobstructed light, it automatically earns itself a Right of Light. Such rights are, for Land Registration purposes, overriding interests. They are valid whether or not they are registered on the title deeds to the property, which claims the right.

When is there an actionable injury? Why does this happen and what can be done to remedy the situation?

The answer to the first question rests generally, as with so many matters that have a legal origin, in a lack of understanding. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and this then applies to Right to Light. The remedy will depend which side of the fence you find yourself on. Every case is different and the outcome will differ accordingly.

At Daniel Armstrong Associates we have the experience to guide you through all aspects of ‘Right to Light’ no matter what side of the fence you may sit. Please give us a call, as we are happy to discuss these matters with you!

We travel throughout the Uk and Assessments start from only £350!

Rights to Light?

It is not an automatic, natural right enjoyed by all landowners: it is a specific, which an individual landowner may acquire over the land of a neighbour.

It is one of a species known as an easement. An easement is a right attaching to, and benefiting, one piece of land, and exercisable over someone else’s land.

Have a light problem? Get in touch