Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a daylight and sunlight assessment can significantly influence the design and layout of a commercial property. It ensures that the design is optimised for maximum natural light, affecting the placement of windows, building orientation, and interior configurations.

Yes, there are legal regulations and standards in place to ensure adequate daylight and sunlight access for commercial developments. Compliance is often achieved through comprehensive assessments carried out in accordance with local planning regulations.

Compliance with Right to Light regulations can be ensured through early assessment and careful planning. Consulting experienced surveyors can help developers understand the legal framework, potential infringements, and adjustments needed to align with regulations.

Right to Light Assessments are crucial for commercial properties to ensure that they maintain adequate access to natural light. These assessments ascertain the legal entitlement to light for existing and planned buildings, preventing infringements that could impact the value, usability, and compliance of the property.

The duration varies based on the complexity of the property and the assessment requirements. Our team endeavours to conduct assessments efficiently while ensuring accuracy and compliance with regulatory standards.

A Right-to-Light Assessment focuses on legal rights related to light access, while a daylight and sunlight assessment evaluates the impact of light levels within and around a property. Both assessments serve distinct purposes but are equally vital in protecting your property.

Properties with uninterrupted light through an opening for over 20 years typically have a legal right to light. However, it’s essential to seek professional guidance to confirm and protect this right.

As a homeowner, it’s advisable to consider a Right-to-Light Assessment if you’re planning renovations or extensions or if you’re concerned about a neighbouring development. Initiating an assessment early helps identify potential issues and address them before they become significant problems.

Yes, there are specific laws and regulations governing Right to Light in the UK. These include the Rights of Light Act 1959 and the Prescription Act 1832, among others. Compliance with these laws is essential when assessing and protecting your right to light.

Both property owners concerned about an infringement on their right to light and developers planning nearby construction can initiate a Right to Light Assessment. It’s a necessary step to ensure that the legal rights of both parties are upheld.

A Right to Light Assessment is crucial because it determines the potential impact of nearby construction on a property’s access to natural light. This assessment serves as the foundation for potential compensation claims and helps protect your right to light.

The Right to Light is a legal entitlement in the UK that protects property owners’ access to natural light in their homes or workplaces. It ensures that property owners can enjoy an adequate level of daylight, and it’s governed by specific laws and regulations.

Yes, you can. This will help to prevent time-consuming compensation claims that slow down or halt the construction process.

Our team of dedicated surveyors will be able to assess  potential right to lights risks  a new development will cause neighbouring properties. We will then be able to write up a full report listing the risks to a property’s right to light so these issues can be dealt with accordingly.

Yes, you can. This will help to prevent time-consuming compensation claims that slow down or halt the construction process.

Our team of dedicated surveyors will be able to assess potential right to lights risks a new development will cause neighbouring properties. We will then be able to write up a full report listing the risks to a property’s right to light so these issues can be dealt with accordingly.

If you are planning to carry out any property renovations that risk affecting the amount of light that reaches your neighbour’s property, then you could be impacting their right to light. If you don’t take their right to light into account while planning an extension to your property, you run the risk of having to potentially pay them compensation or potentially having to remove the extension.

The current right to light legislation refers to the level of light a property is entitled to inside their property coming from external windows. Each property is entitled to receive sufficient natural light through windows, allowing it to be used for its ordinary purpose.

Compensation may be due to you if a neighbouring property or development blocks the amount of light that can reach your property. An amount will usually be officially agreed between the two parties, and they must take into account the scale of the loss of light. If a developer is infringing on your right to light, then compensation could potentially be based on a percentage of their anticipated profit.

If their rights to light have been infringed upon, your client will be entitled to claim compensation. It is then down to the legal process as to whether a compensatory amount will be agreed upon or whether they will settle for an alternative way to remedy the situation.

We offer basic and detailed right to light assessments for various cases. Our assessments will be able to determine whether or not there has been or will be a significant loss of light as a result of neighbouring building work. If there is a substantial loss, the client can make a claim for
compensation or an injunction.

We can assess your client’s property to determine whether or not their light is at risk of being threatened or infringed upon. Once we have completed the assessment, they can submit a planning objection. Please note right to light is not grounds for a planning objection (albeit, loss of daylight and sunlight may be).

People often enquire about neighbours’ trees that they are concerned are obstructing windows and their home’s access to light. To make an inquiry, simply get in touch with our team.

After twenty years of light passage through a window, the windows will generally obtain a legal right to light. In order to prevent the window from obtaining a right to the full amount of light it currently accesses, the passage of part of the light must be interrupted for a 12-month period, which can be done theoretically by service of a Light Obstruction Notice (LON). Please contact us to find out more.

Case law has determined that a legal right of light can be obtained through a defined aperture in a building. Statute states that there can be rights of light where there is the passage of daylight through such openings providing natural light to “…any dwellinghouse, workshop or other building”. It follows from the general legal principle described above that, if the subject of the possible right is not a building and/or there are not defined apertures, it cannot be possible to have a legal right of light. Thus, it is clear that it is not possible to have a legal right to light in respect of a garden, patio or any other such area. This is the case whether we are considering possible right to light obtained after 20 years of enjoyment via Prescription but also it applies to possible rights as a grant of any kind.

Generally, a legal right of light is obtained and legal action is taken via the Prescription Act 1832. Section 3 of this Act refers to light in relation to “… any dwellinghouse, workshop or other building”. The Rights of Light Act 1959 similarly refers to these examples of buildings which are capable of obtaining a legal right of light.

Furthermore, expert legal opinion is that it is simply not possible, by any means, for there to be a legal right of light in respect of open land, anything which is not a building and/or anything which does not have defined apertures for light to pass through. This is the starting point for any consideration of what can be capable of obtaining a legal right to light.

In short – no, you can’t. But all is not lost…

The reason being is that the Local Authority Planning department is not obliged or able to assess legal easements (a right to light is an easement); they must determine a planning application based upon compliance with their planning policies. Therefore, your concern regarding the impact upon your right to light in your objection will not be considered. It does, however, illustrate your concern to your neighbours, who will become aware of your situation.

Absolutely, in certain situations, most commonly when neighbours have windows over 20 years of age. When we consider small dormer windows that penetrate from the front or rear roof slope of a main house roof, the windows in the main vertical house wall of houses either side will not be able to see the dormer (as it will be out of site), and thus will not be affected at all.

In the case of terraced or some semi-detached houses, where rear offshoots are present built off the rear of the main house wall, again, the windows in the offshoot (commonly ground floor kitchen windows and first floor bathroom, landing or bedroom windows) will face at right angles to the main house, and will rarely be affected by a dormer window in the neighbouring main house roof slope.

Scenarios such as this are not uncommon. The impact of extensions like the one described can be considered through several measures. One test is using the ‘45-degree’ test is the ‘rule of thumb’ check for extensions which are perpendicular to the rear wall. For single-storey extensions like the one described, you will likely find you have excellent daylight access when looking straight out the rear window. (Some daylight may be blocked from the direction of the extension.)

The Local Authority Planning department considers compliance with their planning policies to determine planning applications. They are unable to assess legal easements such as right to light. Unfortunately, they will not consider the impact on right to light in an objection.

Despite the potential loss of light from the side window, the room may remain adequately lit by light from the rear window. You can determine if the room will still be considered adequately lit with a Daylight and Sunlight assessment.

Neighbours do not have a right to appeal planning permission that has already gained approval. You may pursue Judicial Review within six weeks. This is tantamount to bringing legal action against the local authority, and therefore the decision should not be made lightly. You will require a strong case. For example, you may be able to demonstrate that the council did not abide by their planning policies. If the decision does not go in your favour, you may also be liable for the Council’s expenses.

Planning application assessments are concerned with impacts on amenity to habitable rooms in a home. Hallways and bathrooms are not classed as habitable rooms. Therefore, the impact on these areas of the home are not factored into planning application assessments.

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.

From a planning perspective, these would not be considered by the local authority as the areas are classed as ‘non-habitable’. However, such areas CAN have a legal right to light, meaning even if you get planning permission, you could potentially cause a legal injury to your neighbour’s home. This type of extension causes the most common legal rights to light problems we come across, so the risk should not be ignored.

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.

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.

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’.

Unfortunately, this is quite common. Whilst more common to consider the impact of a new scheme on a neighbouring property, Planning officers can also view the availability of daylight and sunlight to a proposed scheme. We have had several projects where planning officers have ‘felt’ a new dwelling would be poorly lit and have been minded to refuse consent. Some have even refused consent and forced the applicant to go to Appeal. A ‘Within’ Daylight and Sunlight Assessment could be invaluable for you in these situations. If a planning committee (or Planning Inspectorate at Appeal) is faced with considering the ‘gut instinct’ of a planning officer versus a professional study, based upon computer modelling and adopting widely accepted, industry measured criteria; the latter puts you in a much stronger position.

Not really. There are genuine times when such studies are necessary, and these are when the ‘rules of thumb’ tests fail. In your case, the drawings show that your new extension does not cut through a line drawn at 25 – degrees from the horizontal plane from the centre of your neighbour’s window.

Therefore, the 25-degree rule of thumb test is not breached, and there would be no risk to your neighbour’s windows. In your case, the neighbour’s windows are ‘non-habitable’, which do not require consideration. In situations like this, we have written to the Local Authority to explain that a study should not be necessary to retract the request for such a report. Many Local Authorities will do this if we can demonstrate why there is no risk. Unfortunately, the request you have received may have stemmed from a ‘tick-list’ approach by somebody in the Validation team, without careful thought having been given as to whether such a report is necessary.

Of course. We can take your architect’s drawings and prepare a 3D computer model to calculate how much daylight and sunlight your neighbours will enjoy pre and post-development. We can also ascertain how many sunlight hours your neighbour’s garden will be able to receive. If the outcome will cause problems with your neighbours or hinder your chances of gaining planning approval, we can help. We will redesign the ‘mass’ of your proposal by calculating the amount of ‘cutback’ you would need to undertake.

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.

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.

As a party applying for planning permission, you may be asked by the Local Authority to provide a Daylight and Sunlight Assessment to explain to those assessing the application, the implications regarding how the proposed development might impact upon the light to neighbouring properties.

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.

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.

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