What Do You Do When a Neighbor Is a Nuisance?

People may perceive what constitutes a "nuisance" differently. In practical terms, it essentially means that the neighbor's actions are interfering with the enjoyment of your property. Nuisance claims are considered either private or public.

  • Private nuisance: A private nuisance claim is one that affects just one or a handful of neighbors, such as a loud rooster that crows at dawn every day.

  • Public nuisance: A public nuisance is typically much more far-reaching and involves the public in general. For instance, a nearby hog farm that fails to properly treat its waste, which permeates the entire community with unpleasant odors, would be considered a public nuisance. A nuisance typically involves non-physical elements, such as odors or sounds.

In order to get relief from a nuisance claim, the offending action must be substantial and continuous.

Tellus TIP:

This means the occasional barking dog or annual all-night party would not be seen as an actionable nuisance by most courts. But as a practical matter, it's usually best to work it out directly with your neighbor rather than file a claim (which should be your last resort). The first step should always be trying to talk to your neighbors or advise your tenants to talk to them and solve the disputes peacefully.