Right to Light Law8 Jun 2022 | James Mayall
Right to Light Law in the UK
Property owners have a legal right to light as set out in the Rights of Light Act 1959.
The property disputes team at Osbornes solicitors has a successful track record in advising residential and commercial property owners on the extent of their right to light and supporting them in disputes with neighbours.
The right to light is a type of ‘easement’ – a legal right giving property owners the right to receive light through their buildings’ windows and other ‘apertures’.
The neighbouring property owner is not allowed to substantially interfere with that right, for example by erecting a new building that significantly blocks out your light.
Importantly, the right to light does not benefit the land itself – only buildings erected on the land.
Acquiring the right to light
If you’re a property owner or tenant, you may enjoy an express legal right to light as set out (or referred to) in the registered title at HM Land Registry or:
- Under the Prescription Act 1832, which gives you a legal right to sufficient natural light coming into your property. The property must have enjoyed 20 years’ uninterrupted access to light; and/or
- Under the ‘lost modern grant’ principle. This states that if the light has been used openly and continuously for 20 years, without force and without permission, the court will treat it as though a formal deed is lost.
Sometimes, problems can arise that threaten your right to light. For example, the neighbours may have started to build an extension that your fear will interfere with your right to light; or trees or hedges on neighbouring land has started to block the light that has naturally entered your home for many years.
You may find that the neighbours are completely unaware they are affecting your right to light. Our specialist lawyers will help you defend your rights and take robust, urgent action before it’s too late.
Protecting your right to light
Your neighbours are not permitted to build anything that blocks the light from entering your property without your permission. You do not have to tolerate anything that limits the light coming through into your property if falls below an acceptable standard.
If you are a homeowner or commercial property owner, we will assist you in protecting your right to light; or in defending a related claim against you.
We also advise property developers, builders, architects, surveyors and other professionals who need specialist advice and representation on right to light issues.
Right To Light Lawyers
Our expert lawyers will carefully examine the registered title(s) of the property (and the neighbouring land if appropriate) and look at the factual background to the dispute to determine the nature and extent of the right to light.
There’s no guarantee that we can secure or protect the full extent of the light your property has enjoyed over the years. This is because the court’s approach has been to determine how much light you have been left with – and then to consider if you still have sufficient for normal property use.
We may then decide the best course of action is to commission an expert surveyor to determine your actual loss of light or the anticipated reduction of light. We can then advise you on the best strategy we should adopt.
In cases of serious deprivation of your light, we will not hesitate to formally request the removal of the obstruction. It may become necessary to apply for an injunction prohibiting, for instance, further building work until the dispute is resolved.
We are also experienced in securing compensation for clients whose right to light has been infringed.
Importantly, our lawyers will work hard to achieve a robust and swift resolution to avoid any need for expensive litigation. Most cases can be settled before proceedings become necessary.
Share this article
James Mayall Solicitor
Contact us about Right to Light Law
For a free initial conversation call 0207 485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
“Shilpa is knowledgeable and helpful. She is not afraid to challenge the boundaries for her clients, with excellent results.”
“Shilpa combines the fierce representation of her clients’ best interests with the reasonable and constructive attitude that the Court always looks for in modern litigation. She has invaluable tactical awareness and skilfully handles complex and unusual cases and difficult opponents. As a barrister it is a pleasure to be instructed by her because you so often find that she has already taken the steps that you would have recommended had you been the client’s first point of contact. Her preparation of cases for trial is extremely thorough and helps ensure a positive result before you have set foot in Court.”
“Thank you so much for your help. You were efficient, clear and advised me well in addition to being very pleasant to work with.”
“I would like to sincerely thank you for all the hard work in assisting me to resolve my rather unusual and complicated case. Last 2 years were very stressful and intensive and often only your professional approach and personal realistic but positive attitude helped me not to give up. The uncertainty weight of more than 10 years is off my shoulders thanks to you and your colleagues. Thanks once again for your legal advice, time, and efforts”.
“Mostly I am grateful that Shilpa was understanding about the delays caused by my illnesses, and that she stuck with me and got a good deal for my tenancy. I did feel she fought to protect me and my rights. I appreciate that she kept me informed about progress, sending copies of emails with the other side and consulting me when necessary. I appreciated her eye for detail on legal matters and how she stood firm against a somewhat tricky opposing solicitor.”
“Shilpa was very thorough in the advice she provided and I was immediately put at ease with her involvement. She works hard to achieve the agreed objective and I very much appreciate her help in my matter.”
“Shilpa was very diligent in her attention to detail and her pursuit of all necessary documentation; she showed great determination in the face of many requests by the other party’s solicitor to let certain things slide. She was thorough and professional which gave us a great sense of security.”
Shilpa really helped us take charge of the situation and helped resolve this property dispute. I would not hesitate to recommend her or the team to anyone in a similar situation.
On first meeting Shilpa I was sure that she understood immediately my requirements, and was sympathetic both to my financial restraints and my emotional state. She achieved everything I asked of her and proved to be invaluable, professional and efficient
At every step Shilpa alleviated any concerns and stresses we had. Always fast to respond, always professional and super knowledgeable.
Shilpa has helped us through some key property litigation matters (residential and commercial) since 2014 and has delivered on every occasion. One particular issue had kept us in a state of stress and tension for almost a decade and after getting in touch with Shilpa she was able to help us bring the matter to a peaceful and successful conclusion.
I received a call from Shilpa Mathuradas a couple of hours after filling the enquiry form for a callback. She actively listened to my party wall concerns responding with gentle professionalism, answering my concerns, letting me know what is and is not possible and when best to bring in a solicitor. All this within 10 minutes. Excellent.
If I had another reason to have to seek legal advice again, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Shilpa, and would recommend her to anybody who needed legal advice.
Shilpa was professional, realistic, and unflappable. Shilpa managed to persuade a reluctant witness to come forward to support my case. She obviously knows her subject very well.
I always had full confidence in Shilpa keeping my best interests at heart. I often didn’t understand the legal language, and she would follow this up with a phone call and patiently explain.
Related InsightsVIEW ALL
Transfer of Equity Stamp Duty
Do I Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax When Transferring Property into My Partner’s Name? When it comes to property...Read more
Shared Ownership Stamp Duty
Do you pay stamp duty on shared ownership? When you buy a new shared ownership property, you are given two...Read more
Severance of a Joint Tenancy
Severing a Joint Tenancy Normally, when couples buy a property together they do so as joint tenants. This means they...Read more
Tenants in Common vs Joint Tenants
Tenants in Common vs Joint Tenants: Which is best for buying a property together? When it comes to buying a...Read more
Japanese Knotweed: Knot in my backyard again!
Many will have read the recent case in which a furniture designer pursued his seller successfully after he moved into...Read more
Stamp duty tax to remain the same until 2025
Good news for buyers as the current SDLT rates will remain until 2025 Buyers looking to purchase this year will be...Read more
Half of UK renters worried they will not...
As rent rises for the majority of UK renters, half are worried they will not be able to afford it...Read more
First-time buyer stamp duty exemption – don’t get...
Stamp duty is the bane of every home buyer, with only first-time buyers being exempt from paying the tax if...Read more
Trusts of Land
What are trusts of land? Property ownership is not always a straightforward legal issue, particularly where the parties are cohabitees...Read more
Right to Light Law
Right to Light Law in the UK Property owners have a legal right to light as set out in the...Read more
Landlords and the Dangers of Rent-to-Rent
Rent-to-Rent refers to the practice of landlords letting a whole property to a tenant (usually a limited company), which is...Read more
The uncertainties of beginning a building project now
The construction industry is seeing a perfect storm at the moment with labour shortages following Brexit and material costs which...Read more
The End of Ground Rents
The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 It has been confirmed that The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 will come into...Read more
The new Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill
On the 9th November 2021 the Government announced the new draft Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill. It is proposed that a new...Read more
Can I still claim adverse possession?
The principle of “adverse possession” commonly known as “squatters rights” is a principle which allows a person who does not...Read more
Buying a property where a Party Wall Award...
Buying a house with a party wall agreement Buying a property can already be a stressful process but finding out...Read more
Commercial rent arrears options post-Covid
Whilst we are reminded every day that Covid is very much still with us and that the public should still...Read more
First Time Buyers Tax Relief Reminder
First-time buyers have been urged to make the most of a ‘forgotten tax relief’ that could save them thousands of...Read more
The Risks Of Buying Properties Off Plan!
The Daily Mail reported recently that 300 families a week are having to move into shoddy newly built homes. Not all...Read more
Costly clauses missed by lawyers in leasehold contracts
A mum has been left facing a bill of millions of pounds a year for the ground rent of her...Read more
Extension on Commercial Property eviction ban
Despite the Government announcing in December 2020 that the extension of the moratorium on enforcement action until the 31st March would...Read more
Making Alterations to a Leasehold Property
What is a Leasehold Property? There are two main types of property in England and Wales, freehold and leasehold property....Read more
Leasehold Reform: Should I still be looking to...
The first questions to address for most leaseholders are: What is a lease? And, when and why should you consider...Read more
10 Top Tips to Avoid Delays When Selling Your...
Thinking about marketing your property for sale? Simon Nosworthy, Conveyancing Solicitor at Osbornes sets out his top 10 tips of things...Read more