Not Feeling the Neighborly Love?

Have you ever had a nasty neighbor who polluted the air that you breathe or whose dog barked incessantly at all hours of the day and night? Did you call the police but they would not do anything about the annoying neighbor? Maybe the police issued a citation for a city ordinance violation but the problem persisted. If all else fails, there are civil causes of action available to potentially remedy the issue. One cause of action that a person could have against their neighbor is a nuisance claim. There are two types of nuisance claims – a private nuisance and a public nuisance.

A private nuisance is a nontrespassory invasion of another’s interest in the private use and enjoyment of land. If a neighbor does something that interferes with your private use and enjoyment of your home, you have the right to take civil action against him/her. Some examples that allow you to take action might be a neighbor allowing his dog to bark at night; a neighbor running a noisy business out his/her home; a neighbor that burns trash causing excessive smoke to come onto your property; a neighbor who has construction performed during non-business hours that keeps you awake in the early morning; or a neighbor who has extremely bright backyard lights that constantly shine into your bedroom. The remedies available in these cases are potentially an injunction to stop the unwanted behavior and monetary damages. Unfortunately, attorney’s fees are not recoverable in these types of cases generally. Be careful of moving to a home where a neighbor is already engaging in the annoying activity as there may not be protection for you.

A public nuisance encompasses any unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public. A public nuisance may subject the neighbor to liability for both criminal and tort liability. An example of a public nuisance would be when the sewage plant/system operates in a manner that is injurious to health, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, that interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or by a considerable number of persons. A neighbor engaging in criminal activity could also be considered a public nuisance. A neighbor who stores dangerous material on their property could also be committing a public nuisance.

We hope that your neighbors are considerate of you and their neighborhood. If not, at Hymson Goldstein Pantiliat & Lohr, PLLC, we can help with a cease and desist demand letter or even file a lawsuit if the situation gets too unbearable.

Remember at Hymson Goldstein Pantiliat & Lohr, PLLC, Our Business is Your Peace of Mind®.

Written by Attorney John Lohr, Jr., jll@hgplaw.com

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