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Hello all,

 

My parents live in a cottage, which is sandwiched in between two others. To cut a long story short, one of the neighbours is not happy with some windows overlooking his property (despite being frosted). My parents' kitchen window on the ground floor and bathroom window on the first floor overlook his garden.

 

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For the last few months, this neighbour decided to erect scaffolding in his garden to hold a wooden board again my parents' kitchen window. As the only kitchen window, it turned the room into a cave with very little natural light.

 

He took this down a few weeks ago for reasons unknown, but has now opted for a more permanent solution. He dug down right underneath the kitchen window and concreted in a wooden post. It looks like he's erecting a structure only a matter of inches away from the kitchen window which no doubt will soon be boarded up.

 

Is there any action which may be taken to prevent this going further? I believe a 'right to light' may play some part in this, and I wondered if the 'Party Wall etc act' would have restricted him from concreting in this post only inches from the side of my parents' house. We know the police don't want to know and believe that the way to go is some form of court action.

 

Thanks :roll:

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Hi HB,

 

Thanks for the prompt reply. There has been communication with the local authority over other issues regarding the neighbour, but not this in particular. I'm not sure which department of the LA would be interested in this anyway, to be honest.

 

Thanks.

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I expect that you are looking at a county court action for nuisance =- which amounts to interference with peacable enjoyment of land.

 

This is not the kind of thing you should hang about on.

You should think about issuing a claim within a very few weeks and asking for an emergency interim injunction pending the hearing

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From the Law Commission:

 

 

A "right to light" is an easement that gives landowners the right to receive light through defined apertures in buildings on their land. The owners of land that is burdened by the right cannot substantially interfere with it - for example by erecting a building in a way that blocks the light - without the consent of the benefiting owner.

 

Rights to light are valuable: they give landowners certainty that natural light will continue to be enjoyed by a property – increasing its utility, value and amenity. The right may enable landowners to prevent construction that would interfere with their rights or, in some circumstances, to have a building demolished. Where a development has taken place, but a court does not order its demolition, the court may award substantial damages. It may not be clear which remedy the court will order and landowners may succeed in preventing development even if they raise the issue after building has commenced.

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Valuable stuff - thank you very much.

 

It certainly seems that the "right to light" is the right path to pursue in tackling this dispute.

 

I know original kitchen window was in situ for many years (over 20) prior to my parents buying this house,

but this was upgraded to a modern double-glazed unit which was bigger than the original window

2 or 3 years or so ago.

 

This was done when relations with the neighbour were amicable.

 

From what I understand this shouldn't hinder chances of successfully fighting this absurdity,

 

and it is clear that this structure is serving no purpose other than to block the light to the kitchen window.

 

Many thanks.

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The only quick way to stop this is get an injunction to get the structure removed immediately, pending any planning or party wall action.

You can do this yourself and often on the same day, although will cost a bit, but can be claimed back if proved the neighbour has breached your rights.

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You may wish to speak to a right of light chartered surveyor.

 

 

Also the Party Wall Act does not have to be applied, it is voluntary. However, the courts take a dim view if notifiable works are undertaken outside the Act and especially so if damage occurs.

 

 

In this case the bit of the Party Wall Act that applies relates to excavations. If they are within 3m of the neighbours foundations and go to the same depth as their foundations or cross a 45 degree line from the bottom of the foundations.

 

 

I believe courts can demand that the PW Act is complied with, and it may be worth requesting the court to require the neighbour to serve a Party Wall Notice (if their excavations meet the above provision) as a part of any injunction.

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You may wish to speak to a right of light chartered surveyor.

 

 

Also the Party Wall Act does not have to be applied, it is voluntary. However, the courts take a dim view if notifiable works are undertaken outside the Act and especially so if damage occurs.

 

 

In this case the bit of the Party Wall Act that applies relates to excavations. If they are within 3m of the neighbours foundations and go to the same depth as their foundations or cross a 45 degree line from the bottom of the foundations.

 

 

I believe courts can demand that the PW Act is complied with, and it may be worth requesting the court to require the neighbour to serve a Party Wall Notice (if their excavations meet the above provision) as a part of any injunction.

 

 

But this isn't someone doing some building work or adding an extension, this is someone installing a big wooden board to block the windows.

 

 

This might come as a bit of a shock though:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1210874/Neighbour-builds-6ft-wall-half-inch-familys-windows-stop-trespassing-land-opening-them.html

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If the structure impeding the window is more than 2m high it will need planning permission so report to the planning dept as a first step. they can enforce the removal of the fence/structure if need be.

An easment can be claimed for the window which means an injunction can be applied for. This will cost you about £8k via a solicitor but you get the costs back from the neighbour when judge agrees to apply.

i would go to the council first and if they agree that planning law is breached (might have to wait and see what happens) you will have no trouble with the latter. if the injunction is breached then you go back to the same judge and the neighbours will be hit with contempt and that could mean a fine or prison.

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Hello,

 

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you

- I didn't see the subscription email.

 

The window is now boarded with trellis attached to the front of this board.

 

The idea is to have climbers growing all down the side of my parents' wall.

 

I don't have a current photo, but I have one showing the size of the structure:

 

Thoughts are that if planning are notified of the >2m structure,

 

he'll just cut it down to 2m and still block the window.

 

Fighting on the grounds of right to light seems like the most sensible option,

 

but everything is so expensive.

 

I'm frustrated for my parents that it looks like they'll have to pay to fight for what's already theirs.

Edited by slug56
Clarification
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Occasionally I visit a legal forum, and there the first second and third bit of advice for incidents like this is to try and resolve the situation through non-legal means because legal means get expensive.

 

Is there any back story? Is there anything your parents could do to resolve the situation - even if they did it through gritted teeth?

 

As someone whose solution would have been to fit a large flood light and CCTV camera pointing out of the bathroom window, I'd be hard pushed to follow this advice myself.

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My thoughts would be to check the deeds, and land registry, mark the exact boundary of your parents land out. Then if anything of his is on there, dispose of it. With the wall, break it into blocks and place it on his property. Then erect a fence. If theres a few feet around the barn that belongs to you, you are well within your rights to do so.

 

Youd need to double and triple check first though.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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