The 45 degree rule under easement law

The 45-degree rule is used to determine permissible objects and structures within a homeowners line of sight from his windows across his property. The Rule of 45 Degrees is an English common law rule which was created to protect the owners of a property, who are entitled normal light as they so require. The 45-degree rule states that if a neighbor’s obstruction such as a wall or window was built higher than the length of their window (or the equivalent if you’re talking about doors) then it could interfere with the owner’s ability to receive sufficient light to enjoy their property. If this happens then the court can order for some money to be paid by the neighbour in question.

Basically, it means that if you build something higher than your neighbour’s property and it affects their enjoyment of that property, then you need to pay them out because it might just be bullying.The neighbour is entitled to get such an amount of light as may be necessary for the enjoyment of his own property from the nuisance created by the other party. It may vary case by case, but generally the rule to measure this percentage of obstruction is same as given above. In a recent case (Kripal Singh v. Jagjit Singh and Ors. 1990) the court held that easement of light can be claimed not only against a neighbouring land but also against other parts of the same building which was causing obstruction. The rule of 45 degrees makes provisions to allow the owner of a house, who claims that another person is causing deprivation of light to his house, bring an action against that person.

Overall, the rule of 45-degrees seems to be more a rule of thumb, but it could also be a good tool in case of any difficulties encountered in determining whether or not there is a sufficient amount of light.(It might be best used as a resource for settling any uncertainty over whether or not a person can take action against someone obstructing light over their property). The courts, whilst adhering to this 45-degree rule, will not feel bound by it, and in any case are unlikely to do so in the modern context. They will take into account all factors both for and against a claim of the right to light.

This rule is applicable in building, who are proposed under owner’s residential house. The general angle limit is 45 degrees whereas if building exceeds it then the lights in owner’s house will be obstructed and action of obstruction of light can be taken. The courts would be more apt to conclude that the obstruction of light is substantial whenever the angle that the obstruction represents between the window and the top is less than 90º, generally about 45º. This is because anything less than 45º will generally result in unacceptable interference with a person’s enjoyment of light at his house. Any angle beyond 45º can generally be remedied by an actionable interference case against a person. Rule of 45 degree is not an absolute rule. It merely lays down that if the height of the structure is less than the distance between the building from which light is excluded and the structure from which it is excluded, then there is no infringement of rights.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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