Easement of light and views

Easement of light and views
Published on: 30 November 2021

As lawyers specialising in real estate law, we know that a very common and, why not say it, problematic issue regarding properties and, therefore, their owners, is the easement of light and views. For this reason, as we did with regard to the easement of way, we want to dedicate this article to talk about both and to clarify any issues related to them. So pay attention.

Easement of light and views

An easement of light and views is the right that a specific property, which is called the dominant property, may exercise over another property, which is called the servient property, in relation to light (openings in the wall) and views (windows, balconies, etc.). This prevents the servient party from opposing the easement right of the dominant estate.

This problem is inherent in the relationship between property and neighbouring rights, which in some cases are subject to severe limitations. In fact, in this case, it obliges the opening of openings in the walls of the dwelling and to obtain views, always within the legal limits established between articles 580 and 584 of the Civil Code. This legal text establishes these easements as rights of refusal or acquisition.

The right of light

The right of light can be obtained through the opening of openings or windows in the walls of the property. Specifically, it is regulated in article 580 of the Civil Code and is limited to the party wall. In fact, it is important to highlight, at this point, the concept of party party wall easement. In this sense, it establishes that one party cannot open a hole or a window in a party wall without the explicit consent of the other party.

In the case of non party party walls, it is essential to turn to article 581 to find answers. It determines, with regard to the servitude de medianeria, that the owner of a wall adjoining the property of another has the possibility of opening openings or windows for the purpose of receiving lights immediately on the roofs or at the height of the runs. Their dimensions shall be a maximum of 30 square centimetres and shall be determined by an iron grille attached to the wall itself and fixed with wire netting.

These openings are called 'ordinance openings' and are those established to allow the reception of light. They cannot, however, provide views, which is why the above-mentioned requirements for grilles, sizes and wire netting are determined. Therefore, they must be understood, simply, as openings of tolerance, which would enable the owner of the property to close them as long as he acquires the party wall that joins him to the adjoining property and there is no previous agreement to the contrary.

In addition, he also has the possibility of covering these openings within his land by building a wall next to the one with the window or opening. This is specifically regulated in sub-sections 2 and 3 of Article 581.

The right to views

Article 582 of the Civil Code establishes the possibility or the right to have a view of another person's property and to prevent any act that impedes or obstructs it. In this sense, it establishes a series of limitations with respect to party and nonparty walls. With regard to the former, as with the right of light, the consent of the other party is necessary to carry out any modification.

As for the non party party wall, this article of the Civil Code stipulates that it is not possible to open windows, balconies or overhangs with straight views over a neighbour's property unless there is at least two metres of distance between the property and the wall on which any of these elements are built. Nor is it possible to achieve oblique or side views over the same property unless there is a distance of 60 centimetres or more.

This means, in a simpler and more understandable way, that the owner of a property cannot open a window of any kind if there is not a distance of two metres or more to the walls of the neighbour's property and if the oblique views are less than 60 centimetres.

But what are straight views? Specifically, straight views are understood to be those used by a person keeping their head in a natural posture, i.e. looking straight ahead. Similarly, oblique views are those that require the subject to turn his or her head in order to obtain them at a maximum angle of 90 degrees.

Specified distances between estates for the right of views

We have already specified distances in the previous section, but there are still other cases which we have not discussed and which directly affect this issue. For example, the specified limitations, i.e. two metres in straight views and 60 centimetres in oblique views, are abolished if the properties in question are separated from each other by a public road, as appears in article 584 of the Civil Code.

On the other hand, reviewing article 585 of the aforementioned legal text, we can determine that in order to obtain the right to direct views, bay windows or balconies on another adjoining property, the owner of the servient estate will not have the right to build at a distance of less than three metres. Furthermore, in the event that the window or opening specified in article 582 of the Civil Code overlooks the public road, the limitations established and detailed above are also immediately abolished.

At this point, it is necessary to pause to dwell on privacy, which is one of the most burning points of this type of easement. In this regard, the Civil Code establishes that an owner cannot request the removal of a window of a neighbouring property, claiming protection of his privacy, if those who walk along the public road that separates the two properties have the possibility of seeing the same as the property opposite.

Conclusions regarding easements of views and lights

The easements of medianeria, views and lights generate a great deal of controversy in general terms, as is the case with easements of way. This is mainly due to the fact that these concepts are difficult to explain and that each situation has its own characteristics, making it difficult, on many occasions, to determine who is right. In fact, most of the time, it is always a matter of establishing an amicable agreement between the parties to put an end to the dispute.

In any case, it is always advisable to use common sense and call in the services of a lawyer specialised in the matter in order to discern more easily what the legal obligations of the dominant and the servient estate are.

We hope to have been of help and to have resolved your doubts regarding this type of easements included in the Civil Code. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to answer them.

A lawyer in less than 24 hours.
Lawyers - 24h A lawyer in less than 24 hours. We defend your interests
"Anywhere in Spain"

With our online appointment system you will have immediate advice without the need for face-to-face visits or travel.

One of our lawyers specialized in your area of interest will contact you to formalize an appointment and make your consultation by video call.

Available platforms
Antonio Martínez 14 de May de 2019 a las 00:45

Buenas noches,
me consulta radica sobre una posible servidumbre de vistas. Tengo un apartamento con un balcón que tiene vistas laterales a izquierda al mar y laterales a la derecha al balcón de mi vecino, las vistas frontales dan al edificio de enfrente. La separación entre los balcones es un muro de 1,2 metros y desde el muro un panel con cristal transparente, a través del cual mi vecino tiene vistas laterales a mi balcón y consiguientemente al mar al fondo. Al sentirme observado constantemente y no sentirme cómodo en mi propia terraza, entendiendo que agredía mi intimidad y la de mis hijos pequeños, procedí a colocar un papel adhesivo translucido en el cristal que separa los balcones por el lado de mi propiedad. Ahora y a través de Junta General se va a proceder a votar la retirada de ese plástico que yo coloqué y que también han colocado otros vecinos de otras plantas.
Mi pregunta es: ¿ tengo algon argumento para oponerme a la retirada del papel adhesivo argumentando derecho a mi intimidad o a algun otro argumento?
Muchas gracias y saludos.

Pedro 9 de December de 2018 a las 22:43

Recientemente he adquirido un ático en el que la terraza es de uso privativo.
Pues bien, una ventana del vecino de al lado en la misma finca da a mí terraza, y esto creo que ha sido así desde siempre.
Para dar alguna intimidad, aunque poca, algun propietario anterior colocó una mampara de hierro que tiene pinta de ser bastante antigua, pero esto inutiliza gran parte de la terraza.
En mis escrituras no figura que tenga ninguna servidumbre, aunque entiendo que mi vecino pueda tener derecho a luz y ventilación, pero no a vistas a mi terraza y mi intimidad, máxime cuando es la parte de la casa en la que más estoy y por la que compré el inmueble.
Mi intención es quitar esa mampara y dejarle un espacio acotado por una estructura de madera con una proyección hacia delante igual al ancho de su ventana para que tenga luz y ventilación, pero en ningún caso vistas a mi terraza, en la que voy a estar vestido o no, acompañado o no.
Puedo hacerlo así? Hay alguna normativa específica para este caso?
Prevalece la servidumbre de luces y vistas o mi derecho a la privacidad?
Gracias de antemano y saludos.

Add new comment

Do you need a lawyer in Madrid, we call you back

Fill in the form and we will call you as soon as possible.

* Required fields