What is meant by a 'right to light'?
Natural light can no longer by regarded an infinite resource. The development of already crowded urban areas and extensions to existing homes on the increase means that the amount of natural light available needs to be managed and fairly distributed.
A property owner can acquire a legal right to a certain amount of natural light.In your home just over half of each room should be lit by natural light. It is slightly less for a commercial building.
What can go wrong?
New buildings can limit the amount of light coming in through a window. If the level of light inside a room falls below the accepted level, this constitutes an obstruction. You can waive your rights, but if you do not you are entitled to take legal action against your neighbour. This is not necessarily the best route and can prove to be expensive. Taking advice from a professional at an early stage can stop the need to involve lawyers.
Extensions to existing properties are a common cause of right to light problems. A homeowner may commission a building firm to extend their property without realising the development may affect adjacent properties. When planning g a small building project a chartered surveyor or a right to light specialist are rarely consulted and the first the developer knows of a problem is when they receive a solicitor's letter from one of their neighbours!
What can you do about it?
It is your right to oppose a planned development even after planning permission has been granted. Depending on the severity of the problem, assuming the development goes ahead, the courts are able to award compensation, reduce the part of the development that is the cause of the problem or a combination of both. It is possible that, in extreme cases, the court may issue an injunction to prevent the development altogether.
A specialist right to light surveyor will be able to explain your rights and help you resolve the problem if possible without having to go to court. If a proposed development is still at the planning stage, they will be able to estimate the amount of light that is likely to be lost as a result of the new structure. Their assessment will help you decide whether or not you have a sufficiently strong case to fight.
What if it's your development?
A specialist surveyor will be able to assist you at the planning stage by assessing design options and recommending solutions that will have a minimal impact on the light to neighbouring properties. If you are planning a major developments this is a cost effective option. It will prevent the risk of expensive design changes or planning delays at a later stage due to impacts from daylight, sunlight and overshadowing issues.
Specialist surveyors can also carry out assessments of lighting which are needed under the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Filling in the form above will give you a list of names and contact details of surveyors who specialise in Daylight Reports. You can then make direct contact and discuss your requirements in details.
Do you carry out Daylight and Sunlight or Rights of Light Survey work?
If you are a surveyor who specialises in producing Daylight or Rights of Light Reports and you would like your contact details to be listed on our website please complete our form to apply for a no obligation trial.
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