residential development guide for home extensions and new dwellings 


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Loss of Light to Windows

In your home, just over half the room should be lit by natural light.

Broadly speaking, the minimum standard is equivalent to the light from one candle, one foot away.

So how do you know whether or not your right to light is being affected, and if you think it is, what can you do about it? 

A right to light may be acquired by 'anyone who has had uninterrupted use of something over someone else's land for 20 years without consent, openly and without threat, and without interruption of more than a year.'

A right to light is protected by law in England and Wales under common law, adverse possession or by the Prescription Act 1832.

If a new building or extension restrict the amount of light coming in through a window and the level of light inside goes below the so called 'accepted level', then this could constitute an obstruction. Unless you have waived your rights you are entitled to take legal action against the obstructor.

Any kind of building or development can potentially block the light coming into your home. For instance:

  • A neighbour's new garden shed
  • High garden walls
  • Home Extensions
  • A new house or commercial development.

If the building owner hasn't taken your right to light into consideration (which is usually assessd at Planning Permission stage), you may have a case for compensation or for negotiating changes to the works or a combination of both.

House extensions are a very common cause of right to light issues as homeowners may employ a local building firm to extend their home without knowing the works could affect the neighbours right to light.

One of the most common problems is where the neighbour has a window to the side of their house to which the light is blocked by a high wall of the extension.


Loss of light guide


Planning Permision in the Open Countryside