Nuisance is the unreasonable or unlawful use of property in a way that causes damage to others by preventing them from enjoying their own property. Nuisance includes noxious smells, loud noises, unauthorized burning of materials, the posting of obscene or indecent signs or pictures, and illegal gambling. In some situations, nuisance may be a crime.
Nuisance may also be grounds for eviction if a tenant is the responsible party. Public Nuisance is a nuisance that affects several members of the public or the public at large, such as the noxious fumes emitted from a factory.
Private Nuisance only affects a limited number of people, such as constant loud music affecting your neighbors.
If a nuisance occurs a court may order the responsible party to stop or limit the activity by issuing an injunction. The parties affected by the nuisance may also be entitled to monetary damages. For criminal nuisance, the responsible party may be jailed and/or fined.
In order to recover from a responsible party in civil court, you must show:
- Your neighbor is engaging in an activity that seriously annoys you
- The neighbor’s activities have prevented you from enjoying your own property
- The neighbor is responsible for the activity
- The activities are unlawful or unreasonable
- The court can remedy the problem by issuing an injunction or awarding damages
If you live in a condominium, cooperative, or planned community, the unreasonable conduct may be prohibited by your bylaws or regulations. If so, your homeowner’s association may help you enforce the restriction against your neighbor.
If you believe that the activities of another party constitute a nuisance there are several things you should do. First, write the responsible party and request that they stop the activity. You may also wish to contact the police and file a complaint. Next, contact an attorney to learn about your rights and legal options.
If someone has brought a nuisance lawsuit against you contact a real estate attorney immediately. A lawyer will advise you on your rights, your defenses, and the complicated legal system.