IHBC CPD boost AND checkup: Critical learning from DBW on ‘Rights to light’

DBW imageUsing references such as the RICS Rights of light: Practical guidance for chartered surveyors in England and Wales, Designing Buildings Wiki (DBW) – host partner of the IHBC’s Conservation Wiki – offers a briefing on ‘Rights to light’ that IHBC members can both review as a ‘CPD boost’ and, where registered with DBW, enhance on the basis of their own experience.

DBW writes:

The right to light in the UK goes back to general property law relating to easements that date back to the rule of William IV. The Ancient Lights Law was superseded by the 1832 Prescription Act.

Rights to light generally become an issue when a new development, or proposed development affects the access to light of an adjoining property. Rights to light also apply to obstructions caused by trees, hedges and so on, but there are no rights to light for open ground.

Rights to light can be the result of ‘easements‘, or can be ‘nuisance’ issues.

Private nuisance regulates interference with a persons right to enjoy land, or some right in connection with that land. Such interference must be ‘unreasonable’ to constitute nuisance. Nuisance can be remedied by an injunction, abatement and/or damages.

An easement is a right which a person has over land owned by someone else. An easement can be created by express grant (for example it may be set out in a conveyance deed), by necessity (for example if there is only one means of access to a site) or by prescription (the act has been repeated for at least 20 years).

Easements are normally attached to the land. In relation to rights to light, an easement can perpetuate even if a new building is constructed. This means that it cannot be assumed that no rights to light exist simply because neighbouring buildings appear to be new.

Visit IHBC’s Conservation Wiki

Read the DBW article

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