Rights to Light

If you are building an extension to your house or a loft conversion, it may affect the amount of light received by your neighbour. This also applies should you wish to erect any outbuilding, shed or garage within the grounds of your property. Legally, this is referred to as your neighbour’s right to light. Right to light can be a significant cause of disputes and should always be considered when planning a building project, for otherwise you may find yourself facing litigation that could cost you dear. 

What Is A Right To Light?

A legal right to light is covered by the common law Prescription Act 1832.  The law sets out that a property owner has a right to light if they have enjoyed uninterrupted light through an opening of a building for more than 20 years. There are also other ways of gaining this right such as through a clause in a conveyancing deed (express grant).

You should always consider your neighbour’s right to light before embarking on a development.

The level of light you are entitled to is harder to define. Light levels are currently assessed by an expert, in most cases a right to light surveyor. These surveyors are able to assess the actual or projected loss of light.

If you have concerns regarding a right to light dispute we can provide quick and valuable guidance. Get in touch with our expert Chatham planning team today on 01634 811118 or make a quick online enquiry.

How Might A Neighbour's Right To Light Affect Me?

If you are considering building a new property, extension, shed or garden wall, you must be careful not to impact your neighbour’s right to light. We recommend seeking legal advice before starting work. If the planned work is judged to affect your neighbour’s right to light, you could encounter loss of light planning objections. These can be costly and cause unnecessary delays to a project.

Right to Light Planning

Considering a neighbour’s right to light should be a significant consideration when you’re planning any sort of development. You may need to carry out a right to light survey. 

In a case from 2010, a developer received a surprise injunction in which they were obliged to demolish the top two floors of a block of flats. The case represented a dramatic shift in how potential right to light infringements are treated by developers and insurers.

Although this case related to commercial premises, it highlighted the importance of right to light considerations in modern development and planning.

Can We Help You?

Seeking legal advice early on about rights to light could help you avoid loss of light planning objections, saving you a lot of time and expense.

If you have already received a right to light letter,then we are able to provide expert legal advice and help you weigh up your options. Our team of expert planning specialists will examine the factual history of a property, review the titles and obtain a surveyor’s expert opinion in order to advise you. Thereafter we can help you to negotiate with the appropriate parties with the aim of attempting to find a solution that works for you. 

Please call Kingsley Smith Planning Law Solicitors on 01634 811 118, complete our online enquiry form, or email our planning law expert Nicholas Kingsley-Smith.

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