You have a house in an urbanisation, and your neighbour, to have more air and light, has decided to put in a window in the wall of their house, a short distance from your land … Can they do that? How should you act as now your privacy is compromised?
The window – By putting in this window on the wall of their house, your neighbour gets more light in their house, but also has direct views over your land.
Note! For that reason, you can question if they are allowed to do it, and what are your rights in this case…
Construction of windows with loss of Privacy
Light – Well, in principle your neighbour can put a window in the wall of their own house (on the other hand, if it were a dividing wall they could not do it without your consent).
Note! However, to do so, your neighbour must respect certain limits:
The law prohibits putting in windows or balconies on a property that encroaches on your neighbour’s property if there is not a gap of two meters or more, in a straight line, between the wall in which they are built and the neighbouring land.
Note! Also, you cannot have side or oblique views on the neighbouring land if there is not a gap of 60 centimetres or more.
In any case, keep in mind that in some autonomous communities these distances may be lower.
Translucent – Also, know that the courts do not usually apply these limits in cases where the window in question has been made with solid materials that, although they allow the entry of light, prevent the view on the neighbouring land.
For example the window was made of glass bricks or had an opaque film over the glass, in these cases it is considered that no damage is caused to the neighbour, since the window would not allow a view over the neighbour’s property so not affecting the privacy of the neighbour.
Avoid servitude (giving someone the right over your land)
Servitude – In this case, if the window does not respect the indicated limits, you must oppose this and avoid a time lapse in the law for “lights and views” which will favour your neighbour.
Note! For these purposes, the term that must elapse for your neighbour to acquire the easement is 20 years.
Consequences – Keep in mind that if your neighbour acquires said easement, you will no longer be able to demand the removal of the window (the easement will have already been consolidated by the planning law).
Note! In addition, you cannot build (even if you do it within your own land) at a distance less than three meters from said window. Therefore, any construction or extension of your home may be limited by the existence of the easement.
How should you act?
Action – Therefore, act quickly and try to convince your neighbour that the window is illegal and that they must wall it in or replace with a material that will not affect your privacy, but give them light.
Note! If they do not:
- Send a Burofax (with acknowledgment of receipt and content certificate) stating that they have installed a window that violates legal distances and that they must cover it, giving them a reasonable time to do so (for example, a month).
- If the Burofax does not work, you will have no choice but to file a lawsuit.
Note – In these cases it is advisable to provide as evidence an expert report, which shows that the construction of the window does not respect the minimum distances indicated.
Your neighbour cannot put in windows less than two meters away from your property.
If your neighbour puts in a window that does not meet that minimum distance, then you must oppose it, so that you do not allow your neighbour to acquire servitude for the passage of time.