On 18 April 2022, the RICS published new guidance for consumers to deal with situations when light is impeded in property. A 'right to light' exists in statute under the Prescription Act 1832 and at common law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There is no statutory right to light in Scotland. In Scotland, there is a right at common law for the owners of ground floor flats to build on the land surrounding the flat, but this is subject to a right to light in favour of the other flat owners. Blocking a neighbour's light can also be considered a form of nuisance. To succeed with a claim based in nuisance it will have to be shown that the neighbour's act is blameworthy, and that the interference is beyond what is reasonably tolerable. Legislation has also been passed to deal with the specific issue of high hedges (see the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013).

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to claim an easement (that is a right over another's land) of light, there must have been an interference or obstruction by a neighbouring property with the amount of light coming into the property. This is different to claiming a view, for which no right exists.

The new RICS guidance is a useful tool for industry, setting out how best to deal with issues and resolve disputes when they arise.

A copy of the RICS guidance can be found here.

If you have any concerns or questions about how these rights could influence a development or, how your rights might be impeded, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Real Estate Disputes team or your usual Brodies' contact.


Lucie Barnes


David Ford

Associate & Solicitor Advocate