What Happens if the Neighbour Refuses to Give His Consent Because He Will Lose Light on his Property?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We are considering putting an offer in for a house. We would need to put in a side kitchen extension, and wouldn’t really want the house unless we could do this.

What happens if the neighbour refuses to give his consent because he will lose light on his property? What are the odds of not being able to do so?

Answer

If the Adjoining Owner does not consent to your proposals under the Party Wall Act he must appoint a surveyor and a party wall award will be agreed – it will not stop the work from going ahead.

The Adjoining Owners right to light is a separate issue. If your proposals were to injure the Adjoining Owner’s light significantly they may have a case – the remedies available to them are an injunction or compensation. The injury to their light would have to be very significant for them to have a case. I see these infill type extensions going up all the time so the planners do not appear to have any issues.

To be on the safe side you may want to make an appointment with the duty planning officer at the local Authority. If you explain your proposals to him he should be able to tell you if you will get planning consent (or whether you need it at all) and whether there are generally any light issues with neighbours.

If it was a borderline case you would have to get the opinion of a specialist right to light surveyor. There are only a few of these in London but I can recommend Andrew Schofield at Delva Patman Associates.