Or if you own a commercial property filled with well-lit meeting rooms, bright office space or a welcoming entrance, you do not want your perfect atmosphere to be jeopardised.
But if a neighbouring property is planning a new development close to your building, we understand your concern about the loss of light in your rooms. Beyond your own enjoyment of the light in your property, you will also likely consider the potential impact on the value or marketability of your building.
Can a Neighbour Cause a Right to Light Injury?
Your neighbours will have their own reasons for wishing to develop their site/property, but understandably you want to ensure your home or commercial property is protected against adverse impact from the loss of light. A right-to-light injury may be inflicted if your neighbour develops or extends their property, blocking the natural light to your property.
If a neighbouring scheme does manage to gain planning permission, all may not be lost. Outside of planning laws, you may have a legal right to light.
Do I Have Grounds for a Right to Light Case?
You could raise a right-to-light objection and be successful if your property has a legal right to light. There are numerous ways a property can acquire a right to light. Sometimes this is via implied or express grants, often noted in your and your neighbour‘s title deeds. It is always worth checking these documents to see if you may have some form of protection via this route.
However, the most common way for a property to have a Right to Light is by gaining it via The Prescription Act of 1832. To acquire this right, in very simple terms, your window openings must have been present (and unobstructed) for 20 years. If your window openings are not quite yet 20 years old but have been there for 19 years and 1 day, or more, you will acquire a right to light at Year 20.
Have you been contacted by a developer?
Sometimes, developers will try and settle neighbours’ right to light matters up front, and in such cases, they (or their agents) may write to you. If you have received a letter from a developer, you may still be unsure about your options and need the advice of a third party. That is where we come in.
At Smith Marston, our expert right-to-light surveyors can offer advice and guidance on right-to-light disputes with neighbouring developments and your options for objection. For further advice, contact us directly.
For more information regarding right-to-light matters for neighbouring developments, find the answers to some of our frequently asked questions. If you have a query or circumstance not addressed here, get in touch for specialist guidance and learn how we can help you.