I have planning permission to build an extension close to a neigbours boundary wall (10cm away). It will mean blocking his window. I understand that regardless of being built without planning permission his window has gained rights of light due to being there for more than 20 years. Am I correct that as long as the area being affected by the blocking of the window still receives a sufficient amount of light than he has no grievance under this right to light and cannot persue me for damages?(the room affected is 2.5m by 2m and has clear patio doors and a sky light left to give it light)
Is your neighbour aware of the extension?
yes he is asking for money
Thank you for your question.
This concerns the right to light as you are aware
Let me say first, there is no right to a view.
If this blocks his view, then that is indeed unfortunate, There is nothing in law he can do provided it isnt a nuisance and there is no breach of any consent.
I will add that there is also no right to a TV signal either so if it blocks his TV signal, he will have to make other arrangements. There is already case law on that.
The right to light is different. If he acquired the right to light (it depends how old the property is, he may have a remedy.
There is no absolute right to light from across neighbouring land, although this right can be ‘earned'.
Under the Prescription Act 1832 a right to light can be acquired provided the light has been uninterrupted for at least 20years. However, this right applies most commonly to a building, and more particularly, to the window through which the light enters.
The light must be reduced by at least 50% before the right is deemed obstructed. Let me tell you now that 50% is an awful lot of light and he will not even be approaching that in most circumstances. He would need to get a specialist surveyor with experience in right to light matters.
BUT, if a title specifically excludes the right to light, there is nothing he can do regarding light . This is most common if your land used to belong to next door. Would need to check the deeds.
It really comes down to how much he is asking for. For a few hundred quid, I would probably pay up just to get rid of it, but if he wants a few thousand, I think I would be a little more resistant.
It really comes down to how much you want to pay, and how much he will accept.
All whether you want to dig your heels in
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"The light must be reduced by at least 50% before the right is deemed obstructed. Let me tell you now that 50% is an awful lot of light and he will not even be approaching that in most circumstances. He would need to get a specialist surveyor with experience in right to light matters."
This is the point I need clarification on; Does this mean (a) 50% of the light through the window I am blocking or (b) 50% of the total light received by the room?
If the later is the case than does this mean the right to light aquired is worthless?
It is impossible to separate the light coming through a skylight from the light coming through another window so it is the amount of light in the room.
That actually helps your situation, because it means that you are potentially only blocking a portion of the available light. In this particular case, the majority of the light is probably coming through the skylight and patio door in which case you could probably almost block the window completely without reducing the amount of light entering the room. The fact that he is willing to accept money makes me think that this is not a major issue and is simply thinks that it is a cash cow.
I'm not certain what you mean by the last line of your post.
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Thank you. So if i have understood everything correctly: my neighbour has aquired the right to light through this window. But the light it provides is negligible relative to the light received by the room and therefore worthless. And because it has no value i can take it away without suffering any consequence. Strange law.
I am not at my PC at the moment but will get back to you asap.
It wouldnt be worthless if he didnt have other windows.It is calculated thus:
‘50:50 rule’ is generally accepted as the appropriate way to measure light levels for rights to light cases. The 50:50 rule involves calculating the percentage of a room’s area which can receive adequate light. The calculations are undertaken at a working plane 850mm above the floor. A point on the working plane is considered adequately lit if it can receive at least 0.2% of the total illumination received from the sky. An injury is generally deemed to be caused where the area of a room receiving light from at least 0.2% of the sky is reduced to less than 50% to 55%.
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