Frequently Asked Questions2022-07-29T16:19:47+01:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning Permission has been gained by my neighbour. I am sure it is going to block my light and I am sure I will have a good case. Shall I wait until they have started/finished their building work until I raise the matter?2022-07-29T16:16:27+01:00

Absolutely not.  If your right to light was gained via the Prescription Act 1832 (20 years continuous enjoyment), you will lose it if it is blocked for 12 months.  Therefore, you must assert your rights immediately.  If matters were to end up in Court, actions of both parties to the dispute will be closely looked at.  Thus, if you remained silent, and did nothing to assert your legal rights until for example, the works had progressed, you may find it harder to get an injunction than if you had raised the subject before the neighbour made a commitment to their scheme.  Courts like to see parties playing ‘fair’.  If they feel you raised a matter ‘too late in the day’, they may consider it would be oppressive to the developer to grant an injunction.  So, if you have concerns – make them known.

I am convinced I have a genuine legal right to light case. My neighbour’s development will block my view of the sky. I have objected at planning stage, and the Council said they do not take account of legal matters such as rights of light – is this correct?2022-07-29T16:15:59+01:00

Unfortunately, this is correct.  The Local Authority Planning Department do not assess legal easements.  A right to light is an easement.  They should assess the impact of the development upon your amenity, thus, the daylight and sunlight that your home enjoys.  Thus, you may find that despite satisfying planning policies, legal injuries to your legal ‘right to light’ may still occur.  This is not uncommon.  We come across this day in day out.  We regularly see situations where people have gained Planning Permission, Building Regulation Approval, have a Party Wall Award in place, and still end up falling foul of legal right to light matters.  Thus, if you are still concerned, even if your neighbour gets planning permission (whether this be a small domestic extension or for example, a large commercial development such as a block of apartments, or a hotel), all is not lost.  You may still have a legal right to light case.

The new build building across the road will block my view of the hills / mountains / park / lake / anything you value the look of …….2022-07-29T16:15:17+01:00

You do not have a right to a ‘view’.  However, if you have a right to ‘light’, and if you can demonstrate a loss severe enough to cause a legal injury, this may assist you with an injunction which clearly could have the end result of not only protecting your ‘light’ but also your ‘view’.

I live in a semi-detached house. My neighbour is going to build out from the rear wall of their house 3m, to build a single/two storey extension at the boundary between our two houses. My dining room, which is positioned closest to the boundary, will lose all its light. I am likely to have case?2022-07-29T16:14:48+01:00

Your scenario is a typical one. In probably 9 out of 10 cases, the answer would normally be ‘no’. The reason for this is that a legal right to light (acquired via the passage of 20 years-time and under the Prescription Act 1832) measures how much of your dining room, at a ‘working plane’ of 850mm above floor level (about desk height), can see a little bit of sky (0.2% of the dome of the sky). Only if your room can no longer see this small amount of sky over 50-55% of its area will you have a case.

In the scenario you describe, you may find you will lose ‘some’ view of the sky when looking towards your neighbours planned extension, but, most probably, your view of the sky when looking straight out of your dining room window, across you rear garden, and in the other direction, will remain unchanged. When looking in these other directions, it is likely that the view of the sky will still be visible in your room over more than half its floor area (at the working plane). Most legal right to light problems occur when a development is ‘opposite and close’ to a window.

The exception to this is when your room is very deep and/or dark to begin with. In such situations, it is possible that your room is inadequately lit even before your neighbour builds their extension. If so, any further loss of sky view may make your already bad situation worse, which could result in a legal injury and thus give you a case.

My property is 15 years old. I have owned it since it was built. My neighbour’s extension has gained planning permission and will ruin the amount of light I can enjoy in some of my habitable rooms. Can I stop them?2022-07-29T16:14:18+01:00

Under most circumstances, no.  A legal right to light is most commonly gained by enjoying light continuously for 20 years.  Properties that are less than 20 years of age will not normally have a right to light, unless you can demonstrate you have a right to light by other means.  This could be by having an express right granted in your property deeds, or, you may have an implied right due to a transactional sale of land.  If your property stands in place of an old building that did previously have a right to light (but was demolished), and the new windows are positioned in the same location as the old ones, the old right to light may have transferred to your new property.

My neighbours planned extension will block my sunlight and overshadow my garden/patio. What can I do?2022-07-29T16:13:41+01:00

A ‘right to light’ takes no account of sunlight, overshadowing or orientation.  It relates ONLY to view of the sky, and only to rooms served by a window (or glazed door) opening.  As such, concerns regarding loss of sunlight to windows, or to external for amenity areas such as gardens and patios, are not covered by right to light law.  You may have grounds for objecting on planning grounds, for loss of sunlight to windows and gardens, but, if Planning Permission has been granted, (or is not required), a ‘right to light’ will not help you with sunlight concerns.  Of course, having a legal right to light may ultimately help you if you can prove your view of the sky will be diminished to a certain level.

What’s the difference between a right to light and daylight & sunlight assessment?2022-07-29T16:07:47+01:00

The two vary massively, and our consultants are here to help you determine which type of help you require. Right to light relates to any room. This can include garages, staircases, and even bathrooms. Daylight and sunlight assessments differ because they only deal with light in habitable rooms.

Do you deal with domestic or commercial properties?2022-07-29T16:07:24+01:00

Both. Our team of consultants are experienced in working with domestic and commercial premises. So, whether you require advice surrounding your recent extension at home or you’re a professional planning a large scale development, we can be sure to help.

Can I object to the Council?2022-02-10T15:40:14+00:00

My neighbour has submitted a planning application and due to its size, I will lose all of the light to my hall/landing/bathroom. Can I object to the Council?

When Local Authorities assess planning applications, they are only concerned with the impact that an applicant’s proposals will have upon the amenity to ‘habitable’ rooms in your home. So, whilst you may lose daylight and sunlight to your hall/landing/bathroom, these are classed as ‘non-habitable’ areas, and as such, the impact upon these areas will not be considered at a Planning Application. Often small kitchens (usually less than 13 sq. m and not large enough to accommodate, for example, a dining table) are also classed as ‘non-habitable’ and will not be considered.

We’ll be adding more FAQ’s shortly. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact us.

Go to Top