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Light Issues and the Party Wall Act

Thursday, 31st May 2012

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Author: Peter Barry

Many adjoining owners wrongly assume that a potential injury to their light is a matter that should be discussed by the appointed surveyors.

I say ‘wrongly’ because Section 9 of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 makes it clear that nothing in the Act shall ‘authorise any interference with an easement of light or other easements in or relating to the party wall’.

That doesn’t mean that alterations to domestic properties cannot give rise to a claim for loss of light to neighbouring property only that it is not a matter that need concern the appointed surveyors.

If the proposed work requires planning consent the planning office will consider light issues and are guided by a document known as BRE209. Proposals will only be passed if they comply with the guidelines set out in that document. However, it is important to realise that even a project that has received planning consent has the potential to injure a neighbour’s light and give rise to a claim.

The distinction is covered in more detail in a recent post by our friends at right to light specialists Smith Marston LLP.