Right to light worth £30,000

Posted: 27th April 2016

RCJAs a home owner, you may enjoy a ‘right to light’ and, if your neighbour interferes with it, may be entitled to legal redress. In one striking case, a couple who objected to an extension which put part of their home in the shade won more than £30,000 in damages.

Mr & Mrs Aimuwu had planning consent to build an extension to the rear of their £1.65 million suburban home. Their neighbours, Mr & Mrs Scott, were on cordial terms with them and had not formally resisted the grant of that consent for fear of causing offence. However, they had made their feelings known and repeatedly urged their neighbours to modify their plans.

The Aimuwus took the view that they were within their rights and built the extension, which reduced the light in part of the Scotts' home. They took legal action and a judge found in their favour, awarding them £31,449 in damages. Aimuwus were also ordered to pay 90% of their neighbours’ six-figure legal costs.

The defendants, who had wrongly assumed that the planning consent entitled them to do as they did, were aware of their neighbours’ objections and had underplayed the impact that the works would have on their right to light. The facts of the case emerged as they unsuccessfully sought permission to challenge the costs order before the Court of Appeal.