Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby TREVOR-B » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:06 pm

Hi All,

New on here today. I have been fighting a new development which now has planning permission to errect a 2 storey building directly adjacent to my back fence about 1mtr away as well as 13 other property's. This will overshadow my 6mtr pollytunnel my small shed and cast a shadow over my Greenhouse for most of the sunrise hours. The greenhouse has been up for 20 years and I have enjoyed the use of it fully. The Prescription Act 1832 section 3 apparently gives me an easement which should I hope ensure they cannot build as this will take light which the act should give me a right of retention. They also intend to erect a 2mtr fence which I believe I cannot prevent.

All I have to do is write to the land owner claiming an extraordinary right to the light I've had uninterrupted for more than 20 years. As I bought the house new and moved in December 1996 I have met the criteria .

Can anyone on here let me know if they have differing views or have experience of this situation.

Cheers

Trevor
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby mr sheen » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:32 pm

most unlikely that property developers will let a house owner stand between them and their profit without a big fight.

You have the burden of proof. You are up against developers with In-house lawyers working on land law every day and it will cost them next to nothing to defend this whilst you will have to incur all the costs of getting this to court.

Right to light is difficult to achieve with a window in a house let alone a greenhouse that has a shadow cast over it for a proportion of the day...not likely to come under the legislation in my opinion. Right to light is difficult to gain and prove...light meters etc required....(and for good reason....people need houses to live in and we desperately need new homes to house people). So your battle will get harder and costly.

The principle of land ownership is that you have full control over all the land you own, you up to your boundary and the neighbour has control over his land right up to his. This is subject to respecting legitimate easements. Unless you can prove a right to light they can do whatever they like with the land subject to planning legislation.

They have the right to fence their boundary with 2m fencing, the same right as you.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby ukmicky » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:08 am

If you have gained a prescriptive right, and the greenhouse will not be able to be used for its normal purpose you will have a case.

Its very important you make those who are about to build aware of the issue and your claim before they start to build.


Another v Greenwood [1980]


There have been cases where developers have be made to demolish entire floors of multimillion pound developments due to infringing on someone right to light.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby copperman » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:04 am

I'm afraid to say that you don't have a case here.

In the first instance the right to light act applies to habitable rooms with windows.

Secondly, somewhat confusingly, the right to light act doesn't actually govern light as such. The main point of the act is about the amount of visible sky from a habitable room. It's easier to say that the right to light act still applies at night!

If the building were being built within a metre of and directly facing the window of a habitable room you would have a case. So if one the neighbouring properties is affected in that manner they could fight it.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby Collaborate » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:32 am

copperman wrote:I'm afraid to say that you don't have a case here.

In the first instance the right to light act applies to habitable rooms with windows.

Secondly, somewhat confusingly, the right to light act doesn't actually govern light as such. The main point of the act is about the amount of visible sky from a habitable room. It's easier to say that the right to light act still applies at night!

If the building were being built within a metre of and directly facing the window of a habitable room you would have a case. So if one the neighbouring properties is affected in that manner they could fight it.


I second this. The procedure to calculate extent of loss is very complicated - see this https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j ... 3293,d.ZGg
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby jonahinoz » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:12 am

If the building were being built within a metre of and directly facing the window of a habitable room you would have a case.

Hi Copperman,

Where I used to live in South Wales (Neath Port Talbot CC) the planners required a 70ft (metric equivalent) gap between opposing windows in habitable rooms. I think that was reduced, according to some formula, if the windows were not immediately opposite. I was visited by the Planning Enforcement Officer when I added a side window that was not on my plans. When I explained it was for a separate WC, he said that was OK ... and invited the lady next door to come and see for herself. Lovely man ... and we remained friends with our neighbours.

My architect also mentioned a ruling about building a wall within a certain distance of a habitable window.

I don't know if these constraints are specific to that particular LA ... and it was 27 years ago.

John W
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby copperman » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:39 am

Hi John,

My experience from the last couple of years was that of a neighbour trying to prevent me from building an extension. Mine was approx 3 metres from their window but not directly opposite.

I engaged the services of a company that specialises in generating light models for this sort of thing and before they carried out that costly exercise they come out for a site visit. They were there for practically five minutes and said that my neighbour didn't have a case.

They said for a case to be actionable you would basically have to build within a metre of the window.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby ukmicky » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:11 am

I'm afraid to say that you don't have a case here.
That's a definitive statement.it maybe wrong however .

Trevor

Let me clarify a few things due to several of the posts above suggesting you have no case.

The first question that needs to be asked is do you have a claim for an easement for the right to light. A Prescriptive right of light can be acquired under Common law ,Lost modern grant and the prescription act 1832 . The prescription act 1832 is normally the most straight forward route for a right to light claim but there cant be an interruption of more than a year during those years 20 years before the claim. The right to light can be gained for a kitchen ,a living room, a bedroom and yes greenhouse as well as many other rooms and buildings. So basically if you have had 20 years uninterrupted use of light via the neighbouring airspace and there is no light obstruction notice registered against your property (chances are virtually zero)you would almost certainly have a right to claim a prescriptive easement.

The right to enforce your right lies in the tort of nuisance so the obstruction needs to be substantial for you to take legal action. No case will be the same and what is determined to be substantial interference will depend on the facts of the case brought before the court.


Now you have a greenhouse which despite what you have been told can gain a right to light . You do not have a right to 100 percent of all the light you previously enjoyed but you do have a right to retain all that is required for your greenhouse too function as a greenhouse like it did for the previous 20 years . So if you can show that the development will prevent enough light from entering your greenhouse that it will substantially prevent you from growing plants in your greenhouse like you have been doing for the last 20 years you have a case. If you win you may not prevent the development however because a court does have the option of awarding damages instead of an injunction. There was however one case where a developer was forced to remove the whole top floor off a block of flats because they ignored a neighbours complaints about the development blocking light from a flat ,so developers do need to take claims seriously.

Planning law and permission has nothing normally to do with an easement for the right to light. Planners do occasionally look at light issues but not normally private easement rights. Planners can if they feel there may be an issue and the development is important enough extinguish peoples right to light under Section 237 of the Town and Country planning act 1990 but if that had happened you would have received a notice from the council and because you would have had a right to claim compensation .

Normally however its down to the developer once he has gained planning permission to check that the permission granted will not infringe on someone's easement right to light.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby ukmicky » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:30 am

Just to remove any arguments.

The leading greenhouse case is from the Court of Appeal where they granted an injunction due to a garden greenhouse light being blocked. It still had light from all directions apart from the neighbours but that was enough to win the case.

You really need to make the developers aware of ,its Allen and Another -v- Greenwood and Another (link to case summary below)

http://www.swarb.co.uk/c/ca/1978allen_greenwood.html

There is also this case ,just to show how far the courts can go with an injunction.

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail. ... 945082740d
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2010/2245.html
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby copperman » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:15 am

ukmicky, I stand corrected re greenhouse. Thanks for the info.
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Re: Right to Light Prescriptioin Act 1832

Postby Collaborate » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:22 am

ukmicky wrote:Just to remove any arguments.

The leading greenhouse case is from the Court of Appeal where they granted an injunction due to a garden greenhouse light being blocked. It still had light from all directions apart from the neighbours but that was enough to win the case.

You really need to make the developers aware of ,its Allen and Another -v- Greenwood and Another (link to case summary below)

http://www.swarb.co.uk/c/ca/1978allen_greenwood.html

There is also this case ,just to show how far the courts can go with an injunction.

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail. ... 945082740d
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2010/2245.html


Thank you for clarifying, and for backing up your point.
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