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Right To Light Solicitors

The “right to light” refers to an easement that grants a landowner the entitlement to receive natural light through specific openings in buildings on their property, stemming from the right to light act 1959. The landowner whose land is encumbered by this right is not legally able to obstruct this light, by means of constructing a building or structure that then obstructs the light, without obtaining consent from the beneficiary.

Rights to light hold a lot of value due to the fact that they provide landowners with a guarantee that their property will receive natural light, enhancing the property’s overall value. It also prevents developers from building constructs that would infringe upon its light entitlement, or in some cases, landowners can request the demolition of a building that is infringing upon this right through a right to light injuction.

If development has reached completion and the court does not demand its demolition, there is the potential for the beneficiary of the ‘right to light’ easement to receive significant damages as a result. It is not always easy to predict what the court will order, and landowners may be successful in stopping a development even if they make a complaint after the construction has started.

Additionally, both parties burdened by and benefiting from rights to light may be unaware of their existence in many cases. It is important to note that the planning system does not account for such private rights, which means rights to light can impact development even if planning permission has been granted.

At Stephen Rimmer, our right to light solicitors can assist clients with all right to light matters, including:

  • Legal advice for those facing right of light disputes, including parties who are raising right to light disputes, or defending themselves against such allegations
  • Assessing a clients right to light based disputes, investigating the potential obstruction to light at the property, and offering legal advice based on the strength of the case
  • Supporting clients to negotiate with the parties who are causing the obstruction of light, including cases that focus on right to light in a garden
  • Alternative dispute resolution to support clients who are having right to light disputes, and would like to resolve these matters out of Court
  • Support with litigation processes where clients cannot solve disputes with alternative dispute resolution

Contact our right to light solicitors

For clear, expert right to light disputes advice, please contact a member of our property team for a no obligation discussion:

Frequently asked questions

Is there a law right to light?

Indeed, in the UK, there is a law pertaining to the right to light. This legal framework primarily derives from common law and is governed by both judicial precedents and statutes.

Notably, the Prescription Act of 1832 is a crucial statute that deals with the acquisition of rights to light through long-term usage, commonly known as prescription. According to this Act, if a landowner has enjoyed uninterrupted access to light through windows or openings in their building for a minimum of 20 years, they may obtain a legitimate right to continue receiving that light.

Does my property have right to light?

To find out if your property has a legal ‘right to light’ you can do the following:

  1. Review Property Deeds: Start by examining your property deeds, as these might contain information regarding any rights to light. Look for any specific language or references to easements, rights of way, or rights to light.
  2. Consult a Property Solicitor: Engaging a property solicitor or a legal professional with expertise in property law can be beneficial. They can thoroughly review your property’s documents and advise you on any existing rights to light.
  3. Assess Neighbouring Properties: Examine the surrounding properties to see if there are any windows or openings from neighbouring buildings that allow light to enter your property. If such openings have been present and unobstructed for a considerable period, there might be established rights to light.
  4. Check for Obstructions: Take note of any potential obstructions or developments that may impact the amount of natural light your property receives. If you believe these developments are obstructing your right to light, consult a professional to assess the situation.
  5. Search for Historical Information: Research the history of your property and the surrounding area. Local archives, historical records, or old maps might provide insights into any historical rights to light.
  6. Consider the Prescription Act 1832: As mentioned in the original statement, the Prescription Act 1832 allows for the acquisition of rights to light through long use (prescription). If your property has enjoyed uninterrupted access to light through windows or openings for at least 20 years, you might have acquired a legal right to that light.

What counts as obstruction to right to light?

In the event that new construction work results in a structure that restricts the amount of light able to enter one of your windows and/or the light level are reduced below the acceptable threshold, this may count as an obstruction. In this situation, you have the option to pursue legal action against the owner of the building.

Several types of development have the potential to obstruct the natural light that is able to enter your home. These can include examples such as a newly constructed shed, garden walls, extensions or even portions of a new housing project.

If a property developer fails to take your right to light into account, you may have grounds for seeking compensation, or you could even argue the case for alterations to the development that don’t infringe upon your right to light.

Does my neighbour have a right to light?

Whether or not your neighbour has a right to light depends on the circumstances. According to the Rights of Light Act 1959, a property acquires a right to through via prescription, this means that if that property has had an uinterupted and consistent light for over 20 years, without obstruction, that property has a legal right to light.

There are however exceptions, for instance, where light has been obstructed for at least a year, before a period of 20 years is reached.

To learn more about whether your neighbour has a right to light, it is recommended to work with an expert solicitor, who can assess the specific situation and circumstances.

How can our right to light solicitors help?

At Stephen Rimmer, we understand the significant impact that light obstruction can have on people’s lives and properties. Our team of dedicated right to light solicitors are committed to providing the utmost support and expertise to address these complex legal issues. We empathise with property owners who worry about potential developments affecting their access to natural light, as well as developers facing claims from concerned neighbours.

Our service is centred around upholding the rights of our clients and ensuring that their interests are advocated for. With our profound knowledge of property laws, specifically, those pertaining to rights to light, we are well-prepared to handle even the most intricate property litigation cases.

Our approach involves meticulous assessments of claims, comprehensive investigations, and skilled negotiation to seek fair resolutions or appropriate compensation for our clients. Should disputes escalate, we are willing and prepared to represent our clients in court, utilising our expertise to protect their rights.

We firmly believe that every client’s situation is unique, and we tailor our strategies to meet their specific needs. We take pride in navigating the complexities of right to light cases, providing our clients with peace of mind and the assurance that their rights are safeguarded. Our commitment to excellent service has led us to go above and beyond to achieve the best possible outcomes for those who entrust us with their right to light matters.

Speak to our right to light disputes solicitors in Eastbourne and Hastings

From our offices in Eastbourne and Hastings, our team assist clients all across East Sussex, including in Bexhill-on-Sea, Hailsham, Polegate, Battle, Pevensey and St Leonards-on-Sea.

To find out how we can help with your right to light legal issues, please contact our expert team now by calling 01323 434416 or emailing us at enquiries@stephenrimmer.com. Alternatively, you can use our easy to use contact form.

How can we help you?

Call us today on 01323 644222 to get the specialist help you need.