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Right to light law


KateLD
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Hi,

First time posting here but after some advice we are looking at building a extension to our house preferably two stories, however on research have found the right to light law. We live in a semi detached but have a house the other other side but detached from us so does this mean that it has to apply to both houses or just the one we are attached to? If the height a issue we would look at a single for half the extension and then two storey for the other half. 

Who would be the best trade person to contact to find out if this is possible or if we are at the we can't extend we would have to move.

Thanks

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Right to Light differs from planning law although daylighting is one of the considerations for the planners.

 

If your proposal looks like it will block significant light from any neighbours house or garden, the planners will not give you consent.

 

You can build a fairly big single storey extension without needing planning consent.

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Right to light is complex but a few things are clear enough. The people only gain a right to light after a number of years (20) getting light into their house through apertures (windows but could be other) in their house, its the people not the house that gets the right to light. If you restrict the light they can seek compensation or ask you to remove the obstruction and even if you get planning they can still seek right to light compensation - planning cannot override the right to light.  If they have not lived there for 20 years you don't have a problem with right to light. The planning rules also apply as @Mr Punterpoints out.

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Welcome to the forum @KateLD

 

+1 to what others have said. 

 

I believe it's quite rare for an extension to make a neighbours room so dark that they have a claim under the right to light act. It's more likely to happen if they have a window facing your proposed extension or if the window is already shaded on the other sides so that your extension blocks the last remaining light.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_light

 

Once a right to light exists, the owner of the right is entitled to "sufficient light according to the ordinary notions of mankind": Colls v. Home & Colonial Stores Ltd (1904). Courts rely on expert witnesses to define this term. Since the 1920s, experts have used a method proposed by Percy Waldram to assist them with this. Waldram suggested that ordinary people require one foot-candle of illuminance (

approximately ten lux) for reading and other work involving visual discrimination. This equates to a sky factor (similar to the daylight factor) of 0.2%. Today, Waldram's methods are increasingly subject to criticism[2][3] and the future of expert evidence in rights to light cases is currently the subject of much debate within the surveying profession.[4]

 

See the table for what 10 lux is like...

 

https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/light-level-rooms-d_708.html

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What a minefield! To compicate matters the right to light is different in Scotland and also complex. I don't know but it may also be different in Northern Ireland?

 

If in Scotland your starting point is to get a handle on on how your building may overshaddow your neighbours and thus restrict their light.

 

That said there are some common principles that are worth getting you head around first.

 

Below is some typical householder development guidance offered in Scotland with some handy diagrams.

 

Now although the houses shown below are attached in the spirit of the guidance this could also apply if you say had a pend between the two houses.. or a balcony serving one dwelling but attaching to the next house. To my mind even if there is a gap between the houses the same rules apply as a starting point for overshaddowing etc in Scotland.

 

image.thumb.png.74b0c101e64f258b5094112991157393.png

image.thumb.png.d2c64aa7f0d9a11c9fd17612d792711e.png

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Its a headache because of the layout of the street we have around the corner that over looks our garden so trying to figure out if it is possible is a pain as I can't see any other properties in the area that have done it either.

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5 hours ago, KateLD said:

Its a headache because of the layout of the street we have around the corner that over looks our garden so trying to figure out if it is possible is a pain as I can't see any other properties in the area that have done it either.

 

Can you post a site plan? Or mark up a screen shot from Google maps? 

 

How close are you wanting to go to neighbours windows?

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