Conveyancing in Dudley - Right of light excluded from house

When acting for homebuyers, Dudley Conveyancing Solicitors often find that the title to a house contains a note that the property is subject to various rights for the benefit of adjoining properties. Examples of these rights include rights of way, rights of light, and rights to use drains and services, with the right to enter to repair pipes and cables. Property Lawyers often include such rights in Conveyances when a property is first sold. Houses built as part of an estate usually enjoy reciprocal rights over neighbouring properties.

The following is an extract from the land registry title of a house on The Broadway, Dudley, DY1:

“The land is subject to the following rights reserved by the Conveyance dated 5 May 1938 referred to above:-

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"EXCEPTING AND RESERVING unto the Vendors and their successors in title:

(a) Full right and liberty to enter upon the said land hereby conveyed for the purpose of inspecting maintaining renewing or repairing the wall or fence separating the said land from the adjoining land of the Vendors or any substituted wall or fence as and when occasion may require Provided that the Vendors shall make good any damage to the surface of the said land caused by the inspection maintenance renewing and repairing of the said wall or fence, and

(b) All such rights of light air drainage support or any other easements (if any) as are enjoyed by the Vendors as owner of the adjoining land and any buildings thereon over the premises hereby conveyed"

What problems might these property title rights cause?

These existence of these rights, which are usually known to Conveyancing Solicitors as ‘easements’ may look worrying to buyers, but are rarely a problem. The right of a neighbour to enter on your property to repair such features as fences or drains rarely needs to be exercised, and owners are usually required to tell you before they exercise the right.

Many houses in Dudley have shared drains, where the drainage from several houses may run through a private drain before connecting with a public sewer. The owner of each through which the drain runs is usually responsible for repairing the length of drain within their own property, but if an owner fails to carry out necessary repairs then other owners may be entitled to enter his property in an emergency. However drains usually work without difficulty and householders are rarely worried by them.

Houses may sometimes enjoy a right of light over adjoining land or be subject to a neighbour’s right of light. A right of light is a legal right for the windows in a house to receive light across a neighbour’s property. Rights of light are not usually a worry for buyers, but they might prevent an owner from building an extension which would obstruct an adjoining owner’s rights. This means that Conveyancing Solicitors acting for buyers in Dudley must advise their clients if any such rights are referred to in the title.

Developments and New Builds in Dudley

When houses are built as part of a development it is common for the transfer deed to contain a declaration that the property sold shall not acquire rights over adjoining land, except for any rights specifically granted. The title of the Dudley house mentioned above also contained the following lengthy declaration, which stops the house acquiring any right to light over neighbouring property:

“If in the buildings to be erected on the said land there shall be placed a window or windows in the side or back walls thereof overlooking other land belonging to the Vendors without an intervening public road then and in every such case the Purchaser and his successors in title shall be deemed to enjoy the access and use of light and air thereto from and over that other land of the Vndors with the consent and by the leave and licence of the Vendors and shall not by the enjoyment thereof acquire any absolute or indefeasible or other right thereto from and over that other land of the Vendors or acquire any right to restrain impede or control the use of any building now standing upon such other land of the Vendors or the erection of any new building thereon or to damages in consequence of or arising from such erection or user”

If you are buying or selling a house in Dudley and have any concerns about these rights affecting your house, you should speak to a Dudley Conveyancing Solicitor who will be able to give expert advice.