window showing the sun coming inside the house

26 Sep, 2023/ by Homeward Legal /Buyer, First Time Buyer

It may seem strange to some of us that the importance of access to daylight should be enshrined in law.

The medical and health benefits of daylight and access to the sun (notwithstanding the ultraviolet (UV) protection that's required, of course) are generally well-known and -understood. Those that suffer with Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) know only too well how their mood differs between the darker seasons and their shorter days, and the longer days with lighter evenings that seem to stretch forever.

What is the right to light?

In simple terms, the right to lightis a legal requirement for a homeowner to be able to access daylight that passes over someone else's land - usually a neighbour - and through their windows (as the most common opening found in residential buildings).

However, having the right to light is not the same as having access to direct sunlight - for one thing, those personal benefits described above are almost all well-served by simply having access to daylight, regardless of whether the sun is shining, and certainly doesn't need to shine through a window. It would also be impossible to construct properties such that every window has total access to sunlight - even when it is shining.

The other point to note is that the legal position is clear on gardens: there is nothing in place to compel a neighbour to remove an obstruction (say, a fence or a tree that has grown significantly) that is blocking sunlight in part or all of your garden. This is covered by the above statement that it's the right to daylight and not direct sunlight that is covered by the legislation. 

So, even with these perhaps annoying obstructions, your garden will still have daylight coming into it, and you'll have to find another way to compromise with the neighbour.

There is a good discussion on rights to light written for an article published in the Law Society Gazette.

What does the conveyancing solicitor do?

A surveyor will check any such obstructions and make a note on the subsequent report, usually with a point of note for the conveyancing solicitor to verify the position within their searches.

The searches will provide confirmation - or otherwise - from the Land Registry that the standard rights to light are fully protected. Your conveyancer will then advise you in what courses of action are available for you to take, should you wish to continue with the purchase of your new property.

Correspondingly, if you're selling a home and it's found to be contravening the law, your conveyancing solicitor can provide assistance and guidance on the next steps to ensure a sale will be completed quickly.

It's a tricky position to be in, which is why you need a professional to unpick all the legal implications in such situations. And you'll want to avoid the worry of extra expense, too.

That's where Homeward Legal can really help with affordable but quality conveyancing services! They will start work on your planned purchase and/or sale as soon as you agree to the quotation and appoint them to represent you. 

Homeward Legal will also provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay for standard conveyancing process.

There are some unforeseen items that might arise during the purchase and/or sale, but the solicitor discusses these and their cost as they come up. 

In addition, to protect the homebuyer further, Homeward Legal operates a ‘no completion, no fee' promise, which ensures that, should the purchase or sale not go through as planned to completion status, no payment is required.

Call  to get your conveyancing quote started, or to discuss your concerns with your plans to move.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Homeward Legal's easy-to-use quote generator.

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