Receiving a Letter From Developers About Right to Light

It is common practice for developers to write to the neighbouring properties of their development if a potential right to light impact or injury has been identified. The aim of which is to resolve any right to light issues amicably.

Why would you receive a letter from a developer?

The letter may be of the developer’s own doing or because their funder or insurer told them they need to iron out any potential risks to the project. In such situations, the developer will want to check that their scheme will not cause you any loss of light. If it is found that it will impact your property, then in that case, they will want to rule out risk to their project, especially the risk of a potential injunction being pursued against them. If a loss of light to a certain level is found, they will typically wish to offer you some monetary compensation to avoid you trying to pursue the injunction route.

Letter Contents and Compensation 

As it is in the developers’ interest to eradicate such risks to their projects, it is normal for them to write to a neighbour to open up some dialogue. They may simply offer a sum of money as compensation. More often, they will first ask if their appointed surveyor can visit your property to do some internal measuring. 

After this, they will refine their computer model and calculate results that show the existing light levels in your rooms and how they will be after their proposed development. Assuming the light loss is of a certain level, compensation may be offered.

How do you know the compensation is fair?

The developers usually recognise that an offer of compensation to a neighbour may mean nothing to a layperson. As a neighbour, how do you know the developer’s surveyor has correctly measured and modelled your property? How do you know they have modelled the proposed development correctly? Is the compensation figure offered fair and reasonable? Typically, a neighbour will have no idea what level of compensation might be reasonable or not.

For this reason, developers usually write to neighbours and offer to pay reasonable fees for a surveyor of their choice. This means your appointed surveyor can do the necessary checks on your behalf and report to you independently. We can do this for you.


If you have any questions or queries or would like to discuss how services or how we can help you, you can contact us via email or call our team.

Our consulting services can help with the following issues:

How can we help?

At Smith Marston, we can help you through the process of dealing with a right-to-light issue, whether you have your own concerns or it has been brought to your attention by a developer. Our services cover various aspects of the process, so you can rest assured our expert team can assist you with all issues and concerns. 

Internal & External Measuring 

We will carry out both internal and external measuring. Internal measuring of your affected rooms is usually carried out with the developer’s surveyor present so that measurements can be agreed upon. With external measuring, we use a total station device or sometimes a laser scanner to check the relative sizes, positions and heights of your windows with existing and proposed obstructions to daylight.

CAD Model Checks 

We will carry out CAD checks on the developers’ model against the planning application drawings and conduct any CAD re-modelling as necessary for us to run our software analysis of the loss of light.

Layout Analysis 

We shall consider whether the layout modelled by the developer is appropriate. If alternative room layouts are possible, we shall discuss this with you and the impact this may have on a claim.

Full Report & Compensation Analysis 

We will report our findings to you, including results for loss of light and our opinion of the general extent of the likely diminution in value of your property. From this, we will advise in general terms with regards to any offer of compensation from the developer and advise on the options available to you.

Fees & Confidentiality 

The developer would normally pay our fees for the above, and we would liaise with them to obtain an undertaking from them to pay our fee. However, our report will be confidential to you, and we will act for you impartially as if you were the one paying for the service. 

We also don’t assume that you will settle for compensation. Depending upon the extent of light losses to your property, you may prefer to pursue an injunction, and we can help with that too. Get in touch to find out more. 

Looking for further advice? 

If you have more queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team today for further advice and guidance. We can help everyone from homeowners concerned about a neighbour’s extension to developers looking to avoid claims and injunctions. 

Alternatively, find more information on our Right to Light assessments, and learn more about us and why you should choose our team to assist you.

Do you take a % of my compensation?

No. We are aware of some firms that approach neighbours to developments offering to represent them in return for a % share of any compensation gained. This only works of course if you are happy with a monetary settlement!

We do not operate on this basis, because surveyors who act for a neighbour will get their reasonable fees paid for by the developer! Any compensation due to a neighbour should be just that, compensation PLUS costs for surveyors and solicitors fees.

Your compensation should not be diminished by giving a % to a surveyor, as they will already have been paid for their time by the developer.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I claim the right to light?

The right to light normally applies to all properties that have received natural daylight for over twenty years. If your right to light is threatened, you may pursue compensation for your buildings’ loss of light, or potentially pursue an injunction.

 How much compensation do you get for a right-to-light impact?

A developer may offer compensation to a homeowner if an impact on the right-to-light of their property is identified. This compensation may either be provided before an injunction or awarded due to the claimant seeking damages. However, the compensation amount depends on the level of impact and several other factors. Contact our expert team today for further advice to find out if you might be eligible for a potential right to light compensation. 

Is right to light a planning issue?

It is important to note that ‘right to light’ and planning permissions are not connected in any way, as ‘right to light’ is considered a civil matter. However, if planning permission has been granted for development or extension, the right to light still needs to be considered. 

As right-to-light is a separate matter from daylight and sunlight permissions, find out how we can help you with the latter today.

CHILD and Child logo

“I have worked with Smith Marston and in particular Adrian Marston on a number of rights of light matters and have always found his knowledge of this specialist area to be first class. This coupled with Smith Marston’s very high service standards have enabled us to secure some excellent results in taking preventative action to safeguard legal rights that would otherwise have been infringed. One particular example involved taking steps to require a development to be halted and, ultimately, reversed, primarily on the evidence contained within Adrian’s report as to current and potential future losses. Adrian’s reports cut through a lot of the complicated jargon often used in these matters and presents the information necessary to take effective action in a clear and logical way. I would not hesitate in recommending him.”

James Beat, Partner, Child & Child
“I used Smith-Marston for a Right to Light matter in 2015. A neighbour to my mother had planning permission for a two-storey extension close to her bungalow. Adrian’s assessments showed that her natural light, in some key areas of the house, would be reduced from 65% to 18% because of the development. Adrian’s dealings with the very determined neighbour and his equally determined surveyor were always polite, professional, and VERY effective. As a result, the planned extension was reduced to a single-storey with little or no effect on Right to Light. Very satisfied and grateful.”
Gus Gresham, Party Wall Surveyor
“Dear Adrian, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for such an efficient proactive survey, and invaluable advice. We are delighted our neighbours have started to remove their first-floor extension, work is almost complete. Hopefully going forward we will not need such a service but if we did we would not hesitate in using your company again and would certainly recommend you to all. Thanks again.”
Mrs C, Cheshire
“Dear Mr Smith, we remain very grateful to you for your professional advice but also would like to thank you and your colleague Adrian Marston for your many kindnesses and patience when clarifying technical and legal issues. We greatly appreciate your help and support, without which we doubt that we would have persisted this far.”
Mrs H, Hull
“I instructed Adrian as an expert in a Right to Light case involving commercial property in Newcastle. Adrian’s specialist knowledge of this field, attention to detail and commercial advice were invaluable in achieving a good outcome for my client.”
Ursula Collie, Ursula Collie Mediation