What Is Right To Light Permitted Development And Extension?

What Is Right To Light Permitted Development And Extension?

What Is Right To Light Permitted Development And Extension?

The right to light permitted development and extension refers to the legal right of a property owner to enjoy natural light in their property.

 If a development or extension project obstructs this right the affected neighbor has the right to receive compensation or seek an injunction to prevent the offending part of the development from being constructed.

This legal right applies to all property owners regardless of their size or status meaning that even an individual with a legal injury in terms of loss of light to just one room can seek legal action against a large multinational company.

In some cases a Judge may even order a partial demolition of a development even after its completion and occupation if it is found to be in violation of this right.

One such case was a court ruling against Highcross in Leeds, which resulted in an injunction against the developer in respect of a neighboring commercial property.

While an appeal was scheduled to be held it was canceled due to an out-of-court settlement which means that the original court ruling remains unchallenged and the case law from that ruling stands.

Are you considering expanding your living space with a side or rear extension, additional storey, or raised roofline or boundary wall?

Whether you’re still in the planning phase, considering drawing up plans for a Planning Application, or have already obtained Planning Permission, it’s essential to be aware of potential legal implications that may arise despite having all necessary consents.

Even with Planning Permission, Building Regulations Approval, and Party Wall Awards in hand, your neighbor may have a legal right to light to their windows.

If your proposed works will cause the light to those windows to be reduced to a certain level, your neighbor might have grounds to seek an injunction to prevent you from building or, in the worst-case scenario, demand that you demolish what you have already constructed.

Even if the case for an injunction is not strong enough, the alternative remedy is compensation, which can result in substantial amounts having to be paid to your neighbors.

Therefore, it’s vital to consider the impact of your planned construction on your neighbors and to consult with legal experts before proceeding to avoid any potential legal disputes.

Why Are Rights To Light Separate To Permitted Development Rights?

Although new permitted development rights have been introduced, the rights to light remain a separate issue. Neighbours can still exercise their right to light and seek an injunction to halt a development, irrespective of these new rights.

The right to light pertains to a certain amount of light over a piece of land belonging to someone else. The most common way of obtaining these rights is by enjoying a particular level of uninterrupted light on one’s land for a minimum of 20 years.

Consequently, if a building is being constructed where the neighbouring properties are over 20 years old it is possible that the neighbours have acquired the right to light.

Thus, it is essential to consider the legal limitations and accompanying mitigation measures that may arise from this early on in the development process.

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