In general, apart from the basic property rights, persons buying property in the countryside have two special rights:

  • Right to be informed of specific conditions that create annoyances
  • Right to be free from unreasonable nuisances

Do I Have the Right to Be Informed of a Specific Nuisance that May Create an Annoyance?

If you buy property where somebody already lives, the seller may be required to reveal any conditions that may create an annoyance. Some states require sellers, rural or urban, to give buyers disclosure forms that list any neighboring problems, including noise, odors and dust. A few counties in some states have adopted local right-to-farm laws requiring sellers to disclose facts about nearby farming operations.  Laws requiring developers to disclose the existence of protected neighboring farm operations also exist.

What Is the Right to Be Free from Unreasonable Nuisances?

Right-to-farm laws exist in many states.  As a homeowner you have the right to be free from unreasonable nuisances, but not reasonable nuisances of the countryside.  Most suburbanites are not well versed in standard farming practices, and are not aware of these laws.  If a new homeowner suspects that a farming operation is outside the law’s “reasonable” protection they may file a nuisance suit.  The USDA and other regulatory bodies issue and monitor these protections for farmers.

Are there any Other Things I Should Be Aware of when Purchasing a Home in the Country?

All states statutorily require that you do due diligence when purchasing a piece of land.  Before you builds a dream house in the country you should thoroughly investigate the surroundings. Buyers should not assume that because a new subdivision is large, beautiful and expensive, farming operations are not a problem.

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding my Property or Nuisance Issues?

While there are many state agencies available to you (e.g. Department of Agriculture, Health Department, the USDA), if you want immediate action on certain farming issues, you will likely have to contact a property lawyer.  A good property lawyer can help you make a complaint about a failed disclosure regarding you country property, a nuisance, your neighbor’s violated farming license, or, if enough people have complained, file a class action lawsuit.