Rights of Light Legal Background

Who might be affected?

  • Building Owners
  • Flats and Multiple Occupancy
  • Commercial Premises

It should be understood that rights of light are an entirely separate matter from planning and therefore a development might have planning permission but still fall foul of rights of light. A legal right of light is protected in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832.

In the majority of cases a right of light will be acquired where uninterrupted light has been enjoyed through an opening (without specific consent, openly and without threat, and without interruption) for more than 20 years. However, alternatively a legal right of light can be acquired by means such as express grant or implied grant and these alternatives can mean that a new building can immediately have rights of light without having enjoyed light through openings for 20 years.

Where a development limits the amount of light coming in through a window and thereby less than approximately half of the room remains adequately lit, this can constitute a legal infringement such that the neighbour to a development may be entitled to compensation or an injunction against the developer.

Rights of Light specialists can measure how light penetrates adjoining properties prior to development and once a new building is built.

Advice can then be given on whether or not an injunction is likely or whether or not compensation might be an adequate remedy.

Contact Us

If you require advice concerning rights of light or if you want to find out more about our services please contact us or use the links below.