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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12180
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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We live in a terraced house and plan to build an extension

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We live in a terraced house and plan to build an extension in keeping with recommendations as laid out in the changes in Feb 2014. I.e. no greater than 3 metres depth from house, no higher than 4 metres, etc. Our neighbour is not happy with these plans saying this will block his sunlight. We plan to build sensitively so loss of sunlight (not daylight which is not affected) would be in the evening time. Does he have grounds to make a complaint? I live in Scotland.
Thank you for your question.

In my view no. From a planning point of view if you are building within the perimeters whereby planning permission is not required then you are entitled to proceed.

Your neighbours only recourse would be to go to the sheriff court and ask for your development to be interdicted on the ground of nuisance. The sheriff would then decide whether there was a nuisance which would justify stopping the building.

Happy to discuss further.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Having "googled" it am I right in believing there is no right to light in Scotland? The terminology in the info I've read is difficult to comprehend i.e. negative servitudes and burdened properties to a layperson. Also my house is ex housing association (I've bought) whilst my neighbour's still belongs to a housing association (Waverly Housing). Does this mean the housing association would need to go to the sheriff court re: interdict? Or would my neighbour as a tenant be entitled to do this?


Thanks for your help in this. I want to be as informed as possible when this subject is raised with him again.



There is no automatic right to light but there is a right not to have an existing natural light interfered with by a neighbours use of their property.

However I was more alluding to a nuisance angle being the doctrine of 'in aemulationem vicini' which would be available to a tenant as the person affected rather than the landlords.

So there could be a remedy either way. Whether the tenant would wish to spend the money on going to court is another matter as legal aid is quite difficult to get for this kind of dispute.

Happy to discuss further.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One last question:


'in aemulationem vicini' I take to mean that this would be me deliberately abusing my right to build an extension under current planning regulations to the detriment of my neighbour?


Can you elborate on "could be remedy either way". Does this mean either of us could win if this went to court - dependent obviously on the decision of the Sheriff.



It means a nuisance caused in the vicinity of his home.

What I mean by a remedy either way is that the neighbour could plead a case based on interference with his natural light OR he could plead common law nuisance. Or in fact he could plead both. Whether he would from a practical point of view is questionable given the potential costs.

Happy to discuss further.
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