Shadows Do Matter: Protect Your Right of Light At All Cost

In Kenya, it is all too common for a neighbour to build a structure that casts significant shadows on the property of another person. This is typically done without any consideration for the property owner’s right of light, and the effects can be serious.

It was not surprising that during the Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) CEO Breakfast Forum on 31 January 2023 at Park Inn by Radisson, Westlands, one of the issues raised was how to manage the obstruction of natural light entering buildings caused by high-rise buildings, and the measures put in place by the county government to protect the right of light.

The enforcement of this right has been challenging due to irregular and unplanned developments that obstruct the flow of natural light into buildings. PATRICK ANALO AKIVAGA, the Chief Officer of Urban Development & Planning for Nairobi City County, gave a presentation that covered the history of housing in Nairobi, the challenges faced by the government in enforcing land use policies and laws, and how unregulated developments affect the right of light.

The right of light is a critical component of property ownership and a fundamental human right protected under the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Infringement of the right of light can lead to various injuries for a property owner including loss of natural light; obstructed view; reduced privacy; reduced security; and health problems. These injuries can significantly impact the value, usability, and desirability of a property.

It is disheartening that despite its importance, many individuals and businesses find themselves vulnerable to their neighbours and developers who carelessly infringe upon this vital right of light. While the government has a responsibility to regulate and enforce laws that protect this right, property owners can also take proactive steps to safeguard their access to natural light.

In the latest January issue of its monthly magazine, the CM Property Digest delves into this right of light and provides some suggestions on how interested individuals can take action on this issue. For more information, follow this link: CM Property Digest Issue 14 | January 2023

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