A property nuisance is an unreasonable, unusual, or unnatural use of a person's land, which substantially hurts a second landowner's right to peaceful enjoyment of their land.  In certain circumstances, a landowner's emission of noises, lights, or odors can open them up to liability to their neighbors.

When Can a Person be Liable for Noise, Light, or Odor Emissions?

Generally, to prove a nuisance for a neighbor's noise, light, or odor emissions, you will have to prove that:

  1. Your neighbor is emitting noise, light, or an odor from their land,
  2. Your neighbor's action unreasonably interferes with your use and enjoyment of your property, and
  3. You have suffered a material and substantial harm because of your neighbor's actions.

What are Examples of Noise, Light, or Odor Emission Nuisances?

Across America, some examples of cases where a landowner has successfully sued for a neighbor's noise, light, or odor emission include:

  • Noise from a racetrack,
  • Noise from a music festival,
  • Odors from hog or bird farms,
  • Noise and odors from a landfill,
  • Light from a baseball field,
  • Odor from a septic tank,
  • Noise and lights from an after-hours club,
  • Noise from radio-controlled airplanes,
  • Noise from exterior speakers,
  • Noise from a shooting range,
  • Light from a cell phone tower, and
  • Odor and noise from a dog kennel.

Are There Any Defenses?

There are several ways to defend against a lawsuit for emitting noises, lights, or odors.  A few examples are:

  • The activity is lawful or reasonable,
  • The injured neighbor came to the noise, light, or odor emission,
  • The neigbor causing the nuisance was not negligent,
  • There are alternative or contributing causes for the nuisance,
  • The injured neighbor is abnormally sensitive to the noise, light, or odor emissions, or
  • The injured neighbor is themselves negligent.

What is Recoverable in a Lawsuit for a Neighbor's Noise, Light, or Odor Emissions?

Generally, in a successful lawsuit against a nuisance from a neighbor's noise, light, or odor emission, you can recover:

  • An abatement of the nuisance (to stop it),
  • Damages, including compensatory and future damages, and/or
  • Fees associated with stopping the nuisance.

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle a Nuisance From a Neighbor's Noise, Light, or Odor Emissions?


If you are being affected by your neighbor's noise, light, or odor emissions, or you are being sued by a neighbor for your emissions, it is highly recommended that you contact a personal injury or property attorney.  Only they will be able to fully explain the issues to you and help defend your rights.