Do You Know Your Rights Of Light?

 By: Kenny Ingram
Let's say you've been working at your office building for the last 20 years or more, and you've always enjoyed sitting at your desk working as the morning sunshine beams through the window. Having sunshine come through your windows has allowed your creative mind to work efficiently. Then your neighbor decides to build a ten story office complex building right outside your window. You're actually disturbed that your invigorating morning enthusiasm is about to be blocked by this new building. Well according to an easement created in English Law, the English Prescription Act of 1832, called the Right Of Light, you have the right to maintain the level of illumination that you have always enjoyed. This right of light protects you from losing the illumination that you've enjoyed for the past 20 years or more, and allows you the upper hand. You are entitled to forbid any construction or other obstruction that would deprive you of that illumination. Your neighbor is required to get permission from you in order to block your light. Your neighbor would have to move mountains in order for him to get away with taking your right of light away from you.

If you decide that you don't want to forfeit your right to light, you could claim that the building has to be smaller. A dollar figure could be added to the cost of you giving up that right so the building project can continue. You could even make a claim that you are against the construction of the new building altogether. Some instances have been noted from history that have caused building projects to be torn down and redesigned in order to comply with the neighbors right to light. Just think of what a nightmare this could create for you, if you are the one that wants to construct this beautiful new project of yours! Somehow I sense that the friendly discussions that you normally would have with your neighbor would transpire into heated arguments and hostility. I think it would put a damper on my new building project in a hurry. This is why you need to be careful and have someone in place that knows exactly what you're up against! This planning issue is something that really needs to be addressed, and in a beneficial way. Planners will pay great attention to your development or extension. They will want to be satisfied that the window is not interrupted from skylight by your building project. Primary and secondary windows are usually what type of windows categorized. The difference would be that secondary side windows are windows that would be to non habitable rooms. Primary windows are the ones that get the most light. Since secondary windows aren't given as much weight as primary windows, they are usually ignored in the assessments.

The building project manager has to consider a bunch of potential obstructions that could affect a neighbor's right to light. Your neighbor putting up a large garden wall or tall shed is one example. Another one might be commercial developments. Some of the fixes that an Access Consultant would suggest would be to offer a dispute resolution, or an expert witness. Organizing and filing of the notices is also an important part of the process. With technology today, we can even create 3D models to simulate certain aspects of the building project.
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