Oh, What a Nuisance

That little kid on your block who is annoying, unpleasant and obnoxious; he may be a nuisance generically but not legally. A nuisance can have legal significance and can be a civil wrong. In the legal sense a nuisance is the interference with an individual’s peaceful enjoyment of his or her property. A nuisance can be the basis of a lawsuit for both damages it causes as well as a court order, prohibiting the continuing and offensive activity or condition. Some examples of what are considered nuisances include: fumes from a factory above the legal limit; noises well above the normal range; directing rain water onto another person’s property; operating an auto repair business in a neighborhood zoned residential; numerous barking dogs, or an excessive amount of light generated at night.

Nuisance is a tort and is broken down into two basic types: public and private. A “public” nuisance affects numerous members of the public or the public at large (how many people it takes to make a “public” will vary with circumstances), as distinguished from a “private” nuisance which only does harm to a neighbor or a few private individuals. There are certain times when it is unclear if an offensive activity is a nuisance or trespass. Golf balls landing on a property neighboring a golf course or driving range have been considered a nuisance in some instances and a trespass in others. If there is an activity affecting the peaceful enjoyment of your property that you believe to be a nuisance contact us to see if relief is available to you.

As for the little kid on your block, patience; one day he’ll grow through it.

— J. Kenneth Butera

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