The Right To Light

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“There is no such thing as a right to light” – that is what I was told by the property partner at the firm where I trained.But is that strictly true? In theory a window in a property which has received more than 20 years unobstructed daylight could very well have acquired a “right to light”, that is to say a right to receive sufficient natural light to allow the room to be used for its ordinary purpose.Over the years this has been a highly contentious area in the courts as to whether a right to light has been acquired and if so exactly what that means.

A few things have been decided by various court cases as to what does not constitute a right to light. A right to light is not a right to a view, to sunlight, to privacy or not to be overlooked.

However, one thing is clear, anyone considering building a new property or extending their existing property needs to give consideration to the possible impact of their proposals on neighbouring properties.If not the remedies available for infringement to a right to light include not only damages but also in certain circumstances, an injunction being granted by a court either requiring the alteration of any proposed work or even stopping it all together.There have even been cases where properties or extensions have had to be demolished.

For advice on this and other Residential Property issues, please contact Partner and Head of Residential Property Chris Pease.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.