What is a Right to Light?

A Right to Light is a legal right to enjoy the natural light that passes over someone else’s land, the servient land, and enters through defined apertures in the landowner’s buildings such as windows, skylights and glass roofs. The benefitting landowner is entitled to receive sufficient natural light through the windows etc. to enable the room or space to be used for its usual purpose. Rooms within a house have different purposes of course, meaning each would be entitled to different levels of light. For example, a bedroom would receive a higher level of light than a garage would. The owner of the servient land is burdened by the right cannot substantially interfere with it, for example they cannot erect a building in a way that blocks the light without the consent of the benefitting landowner.

Rights to Light are therefore valuable as they give landowners certainty that natural light will continue to be enjoyed by a property. This can increase its value, amenity and utility.

 

How to establish a Right to Light

A Right to Light can be established in either of the following three different ways:

  • Express grant – this can be achieved by a deed of easement or typically occurs when someone sells part of the land they own, whereby they either expressly grant the buyer a right to light or reserve one for the benefit of the retained land.
  • Implied grant – occurring when a document does not expressly grant a right but does use terms consistent with the existence of an easement, or where one is implied by the intended use of the property.
  • Prescription – the most common occurrence of a Right to Light, when a landowner makes use of a neighbour’s land for an extended period of time and obtains certain rights as a result.

If you would like to find out whether a right to light exists or have a specific enquiry then please call Jamie Chamberlain on 020 70611100 or email jamie.chamberlain@awh.co.uk.


How to protect a Right to Light

A prescriptive easement does not need to be registered, therefore Rights to Light are rarely registered at the Land Registry. But if your property has enjoyed passage of light over a neighbouring property for a minimum of 20 years then an application can be made to the Land Registry supported by a statutory declaration or a statement of truth to register a Right to Light over the property. We highly recommend this option to prevent a neighbouring landowner from building and developing on their land to your detriment.

  • Do you know your rights?
  • Is your Right to Light being threatened?
  • Worried about your neighbour’s planned development?

We can help! To speak to one of our specialists about a Right to Light matter or dispute, please call 020 70611100 or simply complete the contact form.