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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2198

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1988
HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT

sill being more than 6 feet in height from the level of the ground immediately below it, without support sufficient to prevent such person from falling, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding £5." And every person who actually stands or kneels on the sill of any window under such circumstances is liable to a penalty not exceeding £2.

Spitting.—" No person shall spit on the floor, side or wall of any public carriage, or of any public hall, public waiting-room, or place of public entertainment, whether admission thereto be obtained upon payment or not." Penalty not exceeding £2.

PRESCRIPTION

Right to the Access and Use of Light.—Although there is nothing to prevent any person putting windows wherever he pleases, in his house or building nevertheless if he places them so as to overlook the adjoining land of another, the owner of that land will be entitled, at any time within twenty years afterwards, to build or erect any obstruction he pleases. But inasmuch as it is a principle of law that "a person cannot derogate from his own grant," the above rule does not apply where a person who, being the owner of a house and land adjoining, sells the house to another. In such case he is not entitled to obstruct its light by building on the adjoining land; and the same applies to persons who subsequently acquire the land from him. If, however, the person who sold the house was not, at the time, the owner of the adjoining land, but only held it on lease, the purchaser of the house is not thus protected. On the same principle, if the owner of a house and land sells the land, he retains no right to access of light to the house, unless he has expressly stipulated for it.

Ancient lights.—Where, however, the access and use of light for a dwelling-house, workshop or other building (which includes a green-house), has been actually enjoyed for the full period of twenty years without interruption, the right to it will be deemed to be absolute unless it appears that it was enjoyed by some consent or agreement by deed or in writing. When the use of the light has once commenced, the period of prescription will continue to run until some action be brought in which the right is disputed, or until there be some interruption which is permitted or acquiesced in by the person seeking to acquire the prescription, for a year after he had notice of such interruption and of the person making or authorizing it.

If a window which has acquired "ancient lights" be subsequently enlarged, its enlargement will not create any increased right until the end of a further period of prescription. Where a wall or building in which windows have acquired ancient lights is pulled down and rebuilt, the windows must be placed in the same position, otherwise they will be liable to be obstructed. Although a right to the access of light cannot be acquired under twenty years, it may, when acquired, be lost in less than that period by any act indicating an intention to abandon it. And such intention will be presumed if the owner of the right permits its obstruction by the erection of a building and makes no remonstrance until it is completed.

Obstruction of a view.—A right to the access of light does not include a right to a view which there is no way of preventing an adjoining owner from obstructing.

Right to Air.—There is no means of acquiring a prescriptive right to air generally; for instance, however long may be the period since a house was built, the owner cannot prevent the building or re-building of the adjoining house to such a height as to check the draught of air to his chimneys and so cause them to smoke.[1] Where, however, the air is derived through a defined channel, such as ventilating holes, a right thereto may be acquired under certain circumstances.

  1. That it is otherwise where the relation between the parties is that of landlord and tenant, and the former has covenanted for quiet enjoyment, see p. 1961.