Commercial disputes expert, Stephen Meade, looks at a recent story in Wales Online - and how a couple have got into a dispute over sunlight being blocked from their home.
This is an interesting dispute, that brings a specific topic of property law into the spotlight - rights to light.
With the increasing development of crowded urban areas, rights to light has become a more frequent topic associated with construction projects. It's more routine than it's ever been for developers to include rights to light considerations as part of their overall development plan and due diligence.
As a consequence of that, the insurance market has been quick to offer protection against the risk that a development may infringe a neighbour’s right to light.
Although more common in built-up urban areas, the issue of rights to light can crop up anywhere. There needs only to be a property with a window or other aperture that benefits from a right to light and an obstruction that interferes with that right.
The obstruction doesn't have to be a building; it can be anything that impacts the amount of light that the window receives.
For instance, the recent report (below) of a dispute between neighbours on Anglesey culminated in a lorry trailer being parked close to the large external glass doors of a neighbour’s property. The neighbours have reportedly complained that this has reduced the amount of light coming in to that living space.
Regardless of what the obstruction is, the mere interference with the light or the fact that there is not as much light as before, is not enough - the interference must amount to a nuisance.
It'll be interesting to see how this story develops.
A couple involved in a dispute with their neighbours over a wall came home to find a giant lorry trailer left outside their window. Sophia Hughes, 26, and her husband Gwyn, 27 say the trailer has been parked "as close as possible" to the boundary between the neighbouring pieces of land. They say it blocks out sunlight and obscures views. The neighbouring land is owned by Mark Jones. Mrs Hughes said relations with Mr Jones and his wife were fine until they asked whether they could rebuild a small wall on the edge of their land. She told the Daily Post things soured when the Jones family wanted sole ownership of the newly-built wall.