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wingrovebuyer
wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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I have a neighbour who is building a rear extension to her

Resolved Question:

I have a neighbour who is building a rear extension to her property up to the party wall, this will take my right of light away from us as the room only light comes from a north facing patio door adjacent to the extension they are building. The council know this is a permitted development and as such cant get involved even though it will dramatically reduce the light to the room. How much would it cost approximately to take the neighbour to court to stop the build or make them change the plans to move the extension further away from the party wall. ?
Also if succesful does the neighbour who causes the problem have to pick up the bill ?

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 3 years ago.

wingrovebuyer : Hello. If your window has enjoyed this level of light for more than 20 years, you are right that you have a legal right to light, and any material diminution of this by the extension would entitle you to seek an injunction. However, you need to do this before the extension is built, as it is unlikely a judge will order it to be demolished. You need to write to your neighbour and say that you have a right to light which the extension will materially affect. You need to say that you will be forced to seek an injunction to protect this right if they do not alter their plans. You should also say that if you are forced down this route, you will ask the courts to award costs in your favour.
wingrovebuyer : The neighbour might agree to alter their plans. If they don't, you will need to get an expert surveyor to confirm your fears in a formal report. You can then use this to seek an injunction. You will need a solicitor to help with this, and they may also suggest getting a barrister. You should expect to spend around £5,000 plus VAT on all of this. You can ask the court to award you your costs back, but unless the neighbour has been very unreasonable, it is unlikely you will get 100% of the costs back.
Customer:

they only notified us on week before they started, they have already dug foundations and pured concrete. the council have only just phoned us today and said they cant do anything, but they might pop up next week and have a look. it is really upsetting that this can take place under the new regulations before we have a chance to object.

wingrovebuyer : I agree, but planning and your legal rights are two separate things. It is imperative that you put your concerns to your neighbour, in writing, immediately. If they ignore you, you need to get the surveyor to confirm your worries and then seek an injunction. If you don't, and the extension goes up, the court will not order it to be demolished. They might award you damages for the loss of light, but they will not force the demolition of the extension.
Customer:

I agree, i will be going to a solicitor in the morning and I will be writing a letter as soon as I have closed this screen.
You have ben wonderful and I thank you for your time and opinion you have got an excellent vote from me.. Thank you

wingrovebuyer : That's very kind, thank you! Best of luck with this! Regards, WB
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