- February 21, 2023
- Posted by: Chris Cooper
- Category: Party Walls
If you live next to a proposed development and are worried about the impact this may have upon the light to your property you should act quickly in speaking with a suitably qualified Surveyor.
What should I do if the light to my property is going to be reduced by a new development?
Your Surveyor will be able to provide some initial advice on the likely impact of a neighbouring development to the light in your property. In the first instance the Surveyor will ascertain if you are likely to have a right to light.
How to obtain right to light
A right to light can be obtained under Section 3 of the Prescription Act 1832 (i.e. by the enjoyment of the light for at least twenty years before the time proceedings have been issued without interruption and without consent), by express deed or by implication (via section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925) or through the doctrine of lost modern grant. It is also worth bearing in mind that a right to light can arise even if the building is not occupied. If you have a room that is already poorly lit, then a reduction of your light could be deemed ‘actionable’ (i.e. an injunction could be sought to remove the infringement).
What are the daylight and sunlight rules for planning purposes?
It is important to remember that even if a new development satisfies the minimum requirements for daylight and sunlight for planning purposes, it does not mean that the adjoining properties will not suffer an ‘actionable loss’ in terms of common law Rights of Light. This is because the assessments undertaken for daylight and sunlight are different to the Waldram methodology used in the Rights of Light calculation.
Loss of light planning objections
As mentioned, it is important to act quickly and seek advice as soon as you are aware of a proposed development nearby. In the case where the development is onsite and being built, it is vital that your concerns are made in writing to the developer immediately in order to prevent the possibility of losing your right to light (a Surveyor can assist you with this).
What is the process?
If an analysis of your light level has not already been undertaken, it will then need to be modelled, which will include a detailed measured survey of your property (and surrounding massing), including room layouts. This can be carried out by your Surveyor if the developer is not willing to do so but usually the developer will have already carried out this assessment to those properties that may suffer a loss of light (albeit without the exact room layouts, which will need updating). Your Surveyor will usually work with their counterpart acting for the developer, to ensure that an accurate assessment of light is undertaken.
Settling a right of light dispute
If the assessment concludes an ‘actionable loss of light’ to your property, your Surveyor can advise you on the options to proceed, which may include working with the developer and their Surveyor to amend the scheme to prevent a serious reduction in light to your property. Alternatively, you may wish to settle the dispute and be compensated in return for a release of your right to light. Financial settlement is not always the solution to a dispute regarding light and quite often an amendment to the proposed scheme to include screening or other improvements privacy concerns is maybe what an neighbour is seeking to achieve.
In summary, it is important to be vigilant about surrounding developments and act quickly when you are concerned about your light, especially if construction works have commenced. The best course of action is to speak with a Surveyor or Solicitor specialising in the field of Rights of Light immediately. If you think you have an issue with a neighbouring development reducing your light, please contact for impartial advice.