It is a widely held (but incorrect) belief that when a person’s light is, or will be, interfered with, there is an automatic right to take action to prevent the interference or to obtain compensation for it. The right to light is a limited right, based on the minimum light necessary for the comfortable enjoyment of the premises. In such cases, the court will consider the current use or any other ordinary use for which the premises are suitable. The fact that the premises may currently be being used in a way that does not require external light (e.g. as a store room) does not prevent the right to light being enforceable.
Recently, the occupiers of an office property attempted to prevent a nearby property development which would rob them of natural light or, alternatively, to obtain compensation for the loss of light. The property developers argued that office premises are lit by artificial light, so the reduction in ambient light would be inconsequential. The judge could not accept this approach. He considered that to do so would make successful opposition to such developments almost impossible. He awarded damages to the claimants, but refused to make an injunction which would prevent the development from going ahead.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.