9:21 AM, 20th April 2022, About a month ago
Homeowners left in the shadows by neighbouring sheds, fences and home extensions could claim for compensation or have them removed – help for these homeowners is set out in a new consumer guide published by the RICS. Click here to download the guide.
With a mini-boom in new home extensions following the pandemic, (Savills found that nearly 250,000 were given permission in the year up to September 2021 alone) those living next door or nearby can sometimes be impacted with a loss of daylight.
While no such right exists in Scotland, homeowners in England and Wales are entitled to raise concerns if over half of any established room is lit by natural daylight and which is taken away by building work. Such a right – sometimes referred to as ‘ancient lights’ – is held by “anyone who has had uninterrupted use of something over someone else’s land for 20 years without consent, openly and without threat, and without interruption for more than a year according to common law.
However, challenging a developer or approaching a neighbour about a dispute can be difficult and fraught – especially if building work is underway or already completed. The guide sets out what anyone affected should do:
Andrew Thompson CEnv FRICS, of the RICS Rights of Light working group said: “The importance of natural light in properties for energy efficiency, carbon footprint plus health and wellbeing is resulting in more property owners taking a protective stance.
“Whilst the planning system via permitted development has created an opportunity for many properties to increase in size this has not removed the safeguard held by neighbouring owners to protect their own homes should imposed removal of natural light happen.
“Ancient lights are still a current day safeguard against unwanted obstruction to natural light.”
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