Window opening onto a neighbour’s shared courtyard?

Window opening onto a neighbour’s shared courtyard?

8:38 AM, 18th July 2022, About a month ago 6

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We rent a recently refurbished a terraced cottage with upstairs windows at the back of the property opening outwards onto a neighbour’s shared courtyard. The neighbour who shares the courtyard with others has requested we either replace our windows with sash-opening windows or request our tenant keep the windows closed to prevent the windows from opening into her space given it is her boundary. Given the recent heatwave, this is proving impossible.

Given this is a boundary issue I’m keen to understand if the neighbour has a right to request this or if we are within our right to allow the tenant to open her upstairs bedroom windows? To what height does a boundary apply?

There is also a downstairs window on the back wall which only allows natural light into the living room. The same neighbour has placed a very large plant which almost obscures any natural light flowing into the property. Is this allowed given the Right to Light Act?

Any help/advice would be well received.

Alison



Comments

Ian Narbeth View Profile

10:48 AM, 18th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Hi Alison
It depends on the facts but you need to make this your landlord's problem to solve. You say "shared courtyard". With whom is it shared and what does that mean? Is the freehold owned by the neighbour or by a management company or someone else? You may not know but for how long have the windows that open outwards (or similar outward-opening windows that they replace been there?

I suggest you notify the person from whom you are renting and say that you it is not acceptable to keep the windows closed and ask them to intervene with the neighbour. It is possible there is a right to open but without a full legal investigation it is impossible to say. In the meantime, I would say to the neighbour that you are only renting, that the property is unliveable without ventilation and that he/she takes it up with your landlord.

The light issue is separate. Whether there is a right to light and whether it has been infringed are not straightforward questions.

NewYorkie View Profile

11:33 AM, 18th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 18/07/2022 - 10:48
I think Alison is the landlord!

Needs a much better legal mind than mine, but I would have thought she can't do much about where the neighbour puts her plant. I once had a holiday let with the neighbour's sitting room windows low down along my garden boundary. We both ignored it. The cottages were 300 years old!

If the upstairs window has been there for at least 20 years, I suspect the neighbour can't do much about it, but if you put the window in during your refurbishment, you've probably broken Planning rules.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

13:27 PM, 18th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 18/07/2022 - 11:33
Thanks NewYorkie, I read the "We rent a ..." and assumed she was the tenant.
There is likely to be a problem unless there have been windows in the same position opening over the courtyard for 20 years or there is something in the deeds.
Cheapest solution: replace with inward opening windows (much more common on the Continent than here) or sash windows.

Ann

14:13 PM, 18th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

One has to wonder why the neighbour has suddenly taken issue with an upstairs window being opened. Unless it's a new window. At height, it can't have any detrimental impact on their use of the space, surely? With the sudden appearance of the plant obscuring the lounge window, it feels that there is some other motivation in their actions.
Replacing the window would probably be the simple solution, but could be a completely unnecessary expense without knowing what the boundary restrictions are or if there are other underlying grievances.

Martin Roberts

17:50 PM, 18th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Might be worth pointing out to the neighbour that the last ting any of you want is a 'dispute' as it would have to be reported if either of you wished to sell.

Pretty much make her house unsaleable.

Old Mrs Landlord

9:11 AM, 19th July 2022, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 18/07/2022 - 11:33Yes,I wondered if the original poster was confusing renting and letting. This confusion has even crept into a recent government paper, though I can't remember which.
If the cottage is old there may be planning issues with replacing with a different kind of windows.

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