Rights to Light

For more than 400 years, householders have been able to claim the right to light if they have benefited from sunlight streaming through their windows for 20 years. This timeline applies to the age of the property itself rather than the amount of time they have lived there.

Consequently, any developments that result in less than half a room being lit by natural light (equivalent to the amount of light given by one candle up to one foot away) will be deemed as an obstruction.

Potential obstructions under the rights to light include:

  • A shed or garage
  • Walls
  • House extensions
  • Housing or commercial developments

Should a new development be found to obstruct the amount of natural light filtering through a window, then the affected party can take legal action.

If you think a new development will restrict the level of light you receive, then you are perfectly entitled to oppose it. Even if planning permission had already been granted by the local authority, a development may still be prevented.

Depending upon the nature of the problem, a successful bid against a new development could have a number of outcomes. For example, there may be the possibility of compensation and/or an order for the building to be reduced.

Alternatively, the courts may issue an injunction to prevent the build entirely, or even to have the disputed construction dismantled. However, these injunctive proceedings can be expensive, and usually only happen in extreme cases.

If you are concerned about your right to light, then you should contact the legal experts at Pearson Rowe.

As specialists in construction law, our Birmingham-based solicitors will assess your case and explain your rights to you, as well as help to settle the dispute, potentially without having to go to court. If your rights are being encroached, then you may be awarded compensation, or have the plan altered in your favour.

For more information on any of the high quality legal services provided by our construction law solicitors in Birmingham, please contact us.

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