A right of light is the right to benefit from natural light that passes across another person’s land and into the windows and openings of a nearby or adjoining property.
These rights arise by ‘prescription’ (they have been continuously enjoyed without interruption for a minimum of 20 years by the current and previous owners of the property). It is also possible for a right to light to exist if granted expressly by deed, or granted by implication.
Interference with light is called a ‘legal nuisance’ but it is dependent on the level of the nuisance as to whether you can make a claim. There is not a legal entitlement to receive the same natural light as before the change or development. Light levels can be reduced, as long as there remains sufficient natural light for the ‘normal’ use of that room.
There is a very general rule, known as the 50/50 rule, which details that it will be considered an infringement if the room is left with less than half of its area receiving one “lumen”. A lumen is a historical measurement which is the illumination given by a one foot candle over a square foot.
This measuring system is demonstrative of the complexity of this area of the law and it is advised that professional advice is sought as soon as possible.
If you have a litigation issue regarding your right of light, or if you are considering a development which may affect that of another building, speak to our property litigation team to see how they can help.