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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22850
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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FAO, regarding my neighbours building a fence over my

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FAO Jim, regarding my neighbours building a fence over my bathroom window, it appears that they had an arrangement with the previous owners, but I dont want this to continue, does the fact that the previous owners did not object affect my case
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Nicola

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
That's fine I'll wait

Nicola has asked me to look at this for you.

Good you explain the situation in detail, what the problem is and what you want to know about it?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Well do you have an answer

I’m afraid I don’t even remotely have enough information to start to reply.

I need you to explain the situation in detail please, what the problem is and what you want to know about it. Thank you

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
My apologies from your first response you implied that you had been brought up to date with the problem obviously this is not the case to recap my neighbour has built a fence across my bathroom window I have written a cease and desist letter to him he informs me that the previous neighbour allowed him to do so I do not want him to do so does the fact that the previous never give them permission mean that he is able to do it

Thank you. I didn’t tie up this question to the earlier one. We can’t always see the previous questions without a bit of research. Even then, they don’t always crop up if a person has opened a separate account.

I have looked at the reply from the previous expert.

It depends on whether your property has the right to light which it would require after 20 years unless it is excluded in the deeds.

It would also depend whether the light coming into a room (it does not have to be a habitable room, it can be a garage or a bathroom or kitchen or a store cupboard for that matter) is reduced by 50% or more.

As the previous expert put it doesn’t matter that it blocks your view. It is the amount of blockage of light which is relevant.

If the fence is on their land, subject to what I have said above, they can do what they like provided the fence is 2 m high or under unless they have planning permission.

If the fence is on your land however if the previous owner allowed them to put the fence in place perhaps to stop you looking out of the bathroom window into their garden or suchlike, then the fence never acquires a right to be there because it only occupies the space on a licence if it is your land.

A licence can be revoked on reasonable notice which something like this would probably be 12 months.

The use of this piece of land, if it is on your side has to be without consent and without objection and not in secret.

 

If they just did it, and no one said a dicky bird, they acquire the right under the Prescription Act for it to stain place once it has been in place for 20 years.

If the neighbour asked, “can I put this fence in front of your bathroom window on your land” and the neighbour said, “yes that’s fine go ahead not a problem” then it’s a licence and it can be revoked.

 

So it depends where the fence is, how much light has been reduced and whether it is in place with consent even though there has been no objection.

The timescale is also relevant and on top of all of that there is the right to light issue.

If I have answered your question for you, at the top of the page, you should see a rating facility. Can you please rate my reply 3 stars or more because that really helps me? Please note you are not rating whether it’s favourable, because sometimes you may not get the answer you want, but basically my knowledge and way of dealing.

The thread does not close and I am happy to answer any questions you may have arising from this.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
A window in question is situated in an extension that was built onto my property pre 1972 the blockage of the window is a board that is screwed into the wall of my extension it deprives me of 100-percent air and 95% light I can send you drawings or photographs if that helps

If it’s a board that screws onto your window, I can’t see you cannot simply unscrew it.

If it is nothing to do with a right of the neighbour, then I cannot even see how he could possibly have acquired an easement.

I would be inclined to simply unscrew it and let the neighbouring jump up and down and do what he likes.

Photograph will be useful. Thank you

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I have now received a reply to my seat and desist letter I will read you the contents dear Mr laycock we have considered and taken advice upon the content of your bizarre letter of the 31st we cannot cease and desist because no action in relation to a fence or barrier has been taken by ourselves during the period of your buying the property of number 3 brockley's walk and occupying it the feature which is entirely upon our land has been present for approximately 30 years the previous occupier of number 3 will confirm that be the case and that she took no objection to it your undisputed evidence is therefore entirely without substance in order for you issued any court proceedings to which you wish to attach injunctive relief you will need to establish a cause of action which attracts an award of damages we are advised that no such cause of action exists in addition if such a cause of action does exist which is denied the claim has long since become statute barred by effluxtion of time in conclusion the feature will not be removed and will remain where it is if you choose to issue vexatious proceedings in the county court we are advised to make an application to have the claim struck out and buy you from making any further claim without the permission of the court one final comment this entire Saga has been driven by you with absolutely no provocative behaviour by ourselves the current sorry state of affairs is entirely of your own making yours faithfully etc etc with your recommendations of taking the fence down myself that would involve me going onto their land which I then guess would be trespass I am trying to do this legally
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I'm not sure how I can send a photograph in this format
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
The dark picture was taken yesterday morning, the light one was taken in July [not great but you can see patches of sky] third photo is location of the window

Afraid I cannot see what is over the window.

If it is on your property, I still don’t know why you cannot simply unscrew it?

If the neighbour will not allow you access to unscrew it, then you are entitled to apply to court to get it under the Access to Neighbouring land Act.

 

I have not seen your cease-and-desist letter.

However in their rather disjointed reply it says that the feature is entirely upon their land which is what you are saying.

Can I see the letter you sent please?

Please remove personal details such as the address. Thank you

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I did send a copy to the other lawyer but I will re send

Thank you..

I cannot search any other thread sorry.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
window from inside, window from roof looking down,
My extension is built on the boundry so it stands to reason the fence is on their land, I am assuming that it is fixed to my wall

That photograph is much better and confirms what I was thinking about.

The cease-and-desist letter is fine.

The photograph of the outside I does not mean much to me I’m afraid.

I must admit their reply to your letter is somewhat incoherent.

The fingers of course you have now reached an impasse and your only remedy is to take into court for blocking out your light.

House has clearly been built for a number of years and therefore, you will have acquired the right to light unless it is specifically excluded in your deeds because if it is excluded in your deeds, that’s the end of it. If the fence or boarding screwed onto your wall, then you can simply unscrew it they will not let you onto the land to do that, which seems likely, then you can apply to court for access under the Neighbouring Land Act.

 

If the fencing is on their land because your bathroom wall is actually the boundary, then it’s a court application to remove it.

 

I would check your house insurance because many policies have legal expenses cover that would pay for any legal costs. The time has probably come for a solicitors letter although that is no reason why you cannot DIY.

 

The court forms are N16A and N1 (don’t ask me why they want two forms) which you will get from Google and the court fee is GBP255. I can’t guarantee the outcome but based upon the photographs, I don’t think you even need a light surveyor to confirm that your light is reduced by 50% or more and I cannot see how an application to have the fencing removed cannot succeed.

 

I would write to them once more and tell them that you are now preparing legal proceedings which will be issued on them directly within the next 10 days unless they want to appoint solicitors for service in which case please advise you.

 

You may find once they get the court proceedings they may change their attitude.

That really is all there is to it.

 

If I have answered your question for you, at the top of the page, you should see a rating facility. Can you please rate my reply 3 stars or more because that really helps me? Please note you are not rating whether it’s favourable, because sometimes you may not get the answer you want, but basically my knowledge and way of dealing.

The thread does not close and I am happy to answer any questions you may have arising from this.

Kind regards

Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22850
Experience: Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Stuart J and 3 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thanks for all your help, it has been invaluable.
I really just have one final question before I take this to court.
Does the fact that the previous owner gave them permission to have the fence there have any bearing on the case. They have said that the fence has been there for 30 years, it may well have been but will this effect the outcome of a court case.

I am glad to help.

If the previous occupier gave consent then you are at liberty to revoke that consent.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The following is from Wikipedia and I wondered if it was relevant.....In effect, the owner of a building with windows that have received natural daylight for 20 years or more is entitled to forbid any construction or other obstruction that would deprive him or her of that illumination.

It is indeed extremely relevant. That’s the whole point. If it blocks more than 50% of your light out, even of its completely on their land (which would not need permission) then provided the right to light is not excluded in your deeds it is actionable and you could get this light obstruction removed. You need to check your title deed- You can get the title deed and the plan quickly and easily by using this link:

 

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/

 

and you will have to pay 3 pounds for the title deed and 3 pounds for the plan.

 

You will then have them in minutes if not seconds.

It will obviously refer to the right to light specifically and it will say whether you are entitled to it or not. There is no mention, then you have the right to light and what you have read, which is very brief of course applies.

 

If you Google “right to light” it will give you a lot of articles in much more depth.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
In effect, the owner of a building with windows that have received natural daylight for 20 years or more is entitled to forbid any construction or other obstruction that would deprive him or her of that illumination. Neighbours cannot build anything that would block the light without permission. The owner may build more or larger windows but cannot enlarge their new windows before the new period of 20 years has expired. It is also possible for a right to light to exist if granted expressly by deed, or granted implicitly, for example under the rule in Wheeldon v. Burrows (1879)............
So it could be argued that I have not had the right to light as this light has been obstructed [with the then owners consent] for the last 30 years
Do you see what I am getting at
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Ok the right to light is not excluded on my deeds but if the neighbours have blocked the light for 30 years [with the then owners consent] this change matters or would they have to have it on the deeds

Go back to what I said earlier. If the previous owner of your property gave consent, the consent can be removed and the neighbour then never acquires an easement to have it in place.

Forget whether it’s on the deeds or not, it’s the evidence which is relevant.

Nothing you have said would put me off taking the neighbour to court