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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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Good evening, Im having a problem with light being blocked

Resolved Question:

Good evening,

I'm having a problem with light being blocked out of my garden by my neighbours conservatory and six foot fence (back garden). Three quarters of the light is now blocked from my garden. The conservatory was built up against the boundary line and my neighbours have no way of accessing the side of the conservatory other than from my property (to be able to wash the windows, do repairs or wash the roof of the conservatory). There is only a 0.5 foot between the conservatory and boundary line.

Recently they erected a six foot fence which was not erected correctly and so it was taken down, a verbal agreement was reached (their suggestion) they lower the fence to about 4 feet so it did not block the light in my garden. It was agreed the new fence would be erected during the summertime in full consultation with me therefore I was happy with this verbal agreement therefore was in full agreement.

Whilst away last week a six foot fence was erected without my knowledge and in breech of the verbal agreement reached by ourselves.

I have spoken to the owner of next door tonight (he is the landlord and it's the tenants who have erected the fence and who the verbal agreement was with). I explained about the light issue but he refuses to lower the fence to the agreed height and now refuses to give me his address if Civil Proceedings need to be issued.

First of all is the conservatory contravening any regulations (it was built before I bought my property in '98 and before the landlord purchased next door) and secondly can I do anything about the lack of light and now inferring with the enjoyment of my home due to the lack of light?

Kind regards

Fiona

Fiona Harding
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.

Customer:

Hello,

Customer:

Can you assist with my question?

tdlawyer :

Hi.

tdlawyer :

Okay, the conservatory itself, whether this breaches planning consents....

tdlawyer :

It's likely to be too late now, even if it did, to do anthing about it, but there is never any harm in speaking to the local planning department and seeing what they say about this.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX that would be the answer regarding the conservatory however the conservatory and fence combined now create a problem and the landlord is being very unhelpful (there has been issues between us before in the past with his first tenants so he is very bolshy over any issues concerns his property). I will speak to Hull City Council over the conservatory however is there anything I can do about the breach of the verbal agreement over the issue of the fence?

Customer:

Are you able to assist with the fence and light issue?

tdlawyer :

Yes, I can .... the light issue is difficult too, unless you're on about light coming through adefined window.

tdlawyer :

You generally cannot complain about lack of light in the garden, for example, only where it comes through a defined aperture.

tdlawyer :

Then only if you have a right to light through that window, which if not expressly granted, should have been ongoing for 20 years or more.

tdlawyer :

However, placing a fence beyond 6 feet is going to be in breach of planning, so the size is important.

tdlawyer :

Also, if on your land, then it needs to be in accordance with your agreement. If not, then it's trespass and can be restrained. If on his land, then there is little you can do about it if the fence if 6feet or less.

Customer:

The fence is six foot in height (orginal fence was over six foot and therefore no planning permission was sought), old fence and new fence is on his property (boundary fence which was 1 metre high was left in place).

tdlawyer :

Okay, then I'm afraid there is little you can realistically do about the fence.

Customer:

The houses were built in '92 and I have always had light through my kitchen window however now sunlight reaches the window due to a combination and the conservatory and fence.

Customer:

* sunlight does not reach my window.

Customer:

Can nothing be done even if there was a verbal agreement?

tdlawyer :

What was the agreement - why did he feel the need to make an agreement at all with you?

tdlawyer :

If it's on his land you see, I don't see why he would feel the need to agree with you?

Customer:

The tenant wanted to put up a fence when they moved in and the landlord (strange as this sounds) referred them to me. I agreed a fence could be put up as long as it did not block the majority of light out my garden. I know this sounds strange but it's what happened.

tdlawyer :

Okay, that's a little odd, but I think yo uappreciate the point I'm making. If it's on his land, despite being referred to you, ultimately if it's on his land, then he can do it subject to it not breaching planning.

tdlawyer :

If it's less than 6 feet, it's fine. The agreement that you had would not be legally enforceable, in legal terms, there is "no consideration".

Customer:

Ok, I knew that would sound odd to you but it is what was said.

Customer:

Just off the point, do I have to give access to my neighbours regarding maintain of the conservatory and what would happen if in the future I want to put up a part fence(running from the back of my house which would block out light from their two side windows of the conservatory and would then block them from maintaining the conservatory windows and roof, would I be in breach of any regualtions)?

tdlawyer :

You have to give access if he gets a court order, which he can get if it's to maintain an existing structure. He'd have to promise to make good damage etc, (if any) but in essence, it's always better to agree access and avoid the court if you can.

Customer:

It seems very unfair he can do what he wants but I cannot then enhance my property (but that's the law, I know).

Customer:

Could I never have a conservatory built then on that note?

tdlawyer :

I dont se ewhy you could't have one built subject to planning etc. (although conservatories are normally within certain planning exemptions).

Customer:

It's just that with their conservatory been built virtually on the boundary line then if I built one or gained planning permission to extend my property in the future then I just wondered how I would stand as neither of us could maintain the side windows etc, interesting concept.

Customer:

Our homes are on an angle (my property is known as an irregular shaped plot) as my is a corner property.

tdlawyer :

Yes, you usually have to go through a part wall process when building on the line of junction (the boundary) between properties.

tdlawyer :

So you have to get a surveyor appointed if there is a dispute under the party wall process.

tdlawyer :

And he will adjudicate on the issues between you.

Customer:

Interesting, this sounds very strange I know but I want to do a rose garden this summertime running (left side of the property at the back) from the back patio door down the garden so I wanted to know about the fence that I would put up (which would block the two side windows of the conservatory) so that I could trail the rose bushes up that fence. I don't want to end up in a dispute with the landlord next door but now fear by trying to enhance my property and the enjoyment of my garden (light issue aside) whether I would find myself on the wrong side of the law (albeit Civil law) and antaganising my neighbour and they would no longer have access without causing damage.

Customer:

Thank you for your advice this evening as it has been invaluable to me albeit not the response I was hoping for (not your fault but the law is the law and it is what it is). I will contact the local council tomorrow to see if there is anything that can be done about the conservatory albeit like you, I feel it is too late but not sure with a combination of the two (conservatory and fence) whether anything can be done about it now may be just a case of, ooh well live and learn etc.

tdlawyer :

Thank you - is there anything more I can assist with this evening?

Customer:

No thank you. you have been fantastic and a great help. I never like conflict and as much as I feel my neighbour has been unfair to me and not considered me in all of this then there is no need to be petty or antagonistic. As a magistrate of 15 years and studying for a law degree myself then I just need to rise above it.

Customer:

With many thanks for your help.

Customer:

Fiona Harding

tdlawyer :

Thanks Fiona - have a good evening.

tdlawyer :

And good luck with the law degree :)

Customer:

I will, thank you and you too.

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