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The amount of light that enters your home can significantly impact how much you enjoy a particular room. If you have been used to a certain amount of light for a long time, any changes to this can be noticeable. A “right to light” is a right, known as an easement, that gives a landowner the right to receive light over another person’s land to particular windows in a building.

In this blog post, our dispute resolution team and specialist property lawyers answer some frequently asked questions about right to light disputes. We will also explain how you can make a claim if you are concerned about a neighbour or building developer blocking your light, which could be a breach of your right to light.

 

What is the Right to Light?

The right to light refers to the entitlement to receive adequate natural light through specific windows in a building, typically over another person’s land. It ensures that buildings can be used for their intended purposes by allowing sufficient natural light to enter. This right is attached to the land itself rather than individual windows.

 

When Can I Make a Right to Light Claim?

If an obstruction results in less than 50% of a room being adequately lit, you can make a claim. Such obstructions may include those caused by new or planned developments, trees, hedges, or any other structures blocking your property’s light. As a result, property owners are increasingly seeking compensation from developers who plan to develop neighbouring land.

 

Do I Have a Right to Light in My Garden?

The right to light applies specifically to rooms within a house and not to open ground like gardens. Therefore, you typically cannot make a claim for the right to light in your garden.

 

What is the 45-Degree Rule?

The 45-degree rule, often used by council planning departments, determines whether a proposed new building will block reasonable light to a neighbouring property. It involves drawing an imaginary horizontal line at a 45-degree angle from the midpoint of any window whose light might be obstructed. If the line intersects with the proposed new building, it suggests that the light in the window will be blocked. However, this rule is not legally binding for right to light disputes.

 

What is a Light Obstruction Notice (LON)?

Anyone planning a development can register a Light Obstruction Notice (LON) under the Rights of Light Act 1959. This notice informs the relevant local authority about a proposed property that may affect the light to neighbouring properties. The right to light may be considered void if no challenges are raised within a year. Property owners should promptly register objections if they receive an LON concerning their property.

 

How Can I Protect My Right to Light?

Restrictive covenants can be imposed on land by a seller to prevent a buyer from using it in a way that could harm the seller’s retained land. Dealing with restrictive covenants involves considerations such as enforcement, who benefits from them, and modifying covenants to allow developments to proceed while protecting the right to light.

 

Dispute Resolution Solicitors – Right To Light Claims

Being involved in a dispute with a neighbour or developer over a right to light claim can be highly stressful, and it is not always obvious how to resolve matters of this nature. Many issues can arise, with problems being varied, so the solution to any specific dispute will depend on the case’s circumstances. Therefore, providing a standard set of guidelines for dealing with every right to light dispute is not plausible. However, seeking legal advice as soon as possible can minimise the impact of the dispute, which, if left too long, can end up in lengthy and costly legal battles.

Our specialist dispute resolution solicitors can help assess your case and discuss the best way forward. You can find out more about our specialist expertise in Right to Light disputes here.

Contact a member of our dispute team below to discuss the best way forward for you, and we will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances. You can also call our litigation department on 0330 0250 178.

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.

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