Light obstruction notice
Rights to light refer to rights to receive sufficient light through an opening (such as a window), allowing ordinary comfortable use and enjoyment of a dwelling, or ordinary beneficial use and occupation of other buildings. Generally, rights to light are acquired by prescription where the light has been enjoyed for 20 years.
Rights to light can become an issue when a new development, or proposed development affect the access to light of an adjoining property. Rights to light also apply to obstructions caused by trees, hedges and so on, but there are no rights to light for open ground.
Rights to light are attached to the land and so can perpetuate even if a new building is constructed. It cannot be assumed that no rights to light exist simply because neighbouring buildings appear to be new.
Rights to light by prescription may be lost if an infringement is submitted to for a year without making a claim.
See Rights to light for more information.
It is possible to prevent rights to light being acquired by creating a continuous obstruction to the light for 12 months, starting before 19 years enjoyment of the light has accumulated. However there is obviously considerable risk to doing this.
Alternatively, Light Obstruction Notices (LON) can be registered under the Rights of Light Act 1959, even where no obstruction has actually been created yet. If the notice is not challenged within a year the notional infringement of the enjoyment of the light can be considered to have been accepted, the rights defeated, and the 20-year clock ‘reset’.
Notice of LON’s must be given to affected parties in a way determined by the Lands Tribunal and LON’s must be registered with the local authority on the Local Land Charges Register. Applications for registration should include:
- An application form.
- A plan showing the location of the property enjoying the light and the proposed obstruction.
- A Lands Tribunal certificate confirming that appropriate notices have been given to affected parties.
If the LON remains valid for a year, then any accruing rights are defeated.
LONs can be challenged if an affected party can demonstrate that they have had enjoyment of the light for 20 years. They can either be challenged or negotiated directly with the applicant, or challenged through the courts, and this may result in cancelling or altering the notice.
LON's are a relatively inexpensive way of defeating rights, and can be used even if it is only suspected that there may be rights, simply to identify potential claims.
If the applicant can demonstrated to the Lands Tribunal that the application is urgent, an expedited process may be adopted, and a temporary certificate given, which is followed later by the definitive certificate.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
This article explains the Buildings Regulations completion certificate, what it is, and when its needed.
Graphene has many potential applications, but when will it start being used in civil engineering?
Increasing productivity – now more than ever as we lead up to Brexit – should be the sector’s number one priority in 2018.
Carillion's collapse causes Construction Leadership Council to delay the construction sector deal report.
Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: international frameworks, national and local guidance.
What will the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) mean for you when they come into force in May?
Business Secretary chairs a new taskforce to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation.
Sir John Armitt is appointed the new chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?