Suffering from a Neighbourhood Nuisance? Take Steps to Protect Your Rights as a Citizen

by AaronG on September 4, 2012

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Having a neighbour who is a continual nuisance can be more than just an annoyance. It can make your life miserable. It can lead to health problems from lack of sleep and mental stress. If you are being subjected to ongoing nuisance behavior, you have the right to have it stopped. An attorney can help you protect your right to enjoy your property and live without being subjected to nuisance behavior.

The Tort of Nuisance Behavior

Nuisance behavior is one of the oldest torts in English law. It has been recognized as a tort since the 1300s in the reign of England’s King Henry III. Nolo, a law book publisher, defines a tort as “An injury to one person for which the person who caused the injury is legally responsible.” A tort is a civil matter; the actions of the neighbor don’t have to be criminal to qualify. Nuisance behavior is a tort because courts have found that if you own or rent a home, you have a right to the enjoyment of it. The injury that you suffer is the loss of this enjoyment.

Nuisance can come in many forms. It can be “sights, sounds, or even smells,” which can include “barking dogs, blocked views, blocked access, piled garbage, and abandoned cars.” You must remember, though, that while you have the right to enjoy your property, your neighbors have a right to enjoy theirs also. An occasional cookout with a stereo playing on a Saturday afternoon might bother you, but it doesn’t qualify as a nuisance. If the same neighbor played loud music outside several nights a week, and kept it up late into the night, that might be nuisance behavior.

Behavior crosses the boundary from annoyance to nuisance when it causes you harm. If you can’t sleep at night because of your neighbor’s music or barking dogs or you can’t enjoy your yard because your neighbor burns tires in his yard, you can take action to make him stop the nuisance behavior. You will have to prove that the behavior caused you harm. The more severe the nuisance, the more likely it will be that you will be able to show injury.

If you are in this situation, an attorney can help you get the nuisance behavior stopped and get any compensation for damages that you might be due.

Protecting Your Rights

Because this kind of behavior is a tort, you have legal options to get your neighbor to stop it. The nuisance behavior might be in violation of local ordinances or codes. If so, you can report the violation to your city’s code enforcement department. Your neighbor may be warned to stop and then fined if the behavior persists.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to try to get a court to issue an injunction. This is a court order which tells your neighbor that he or she must stop the behavior or face punishment by the court. At this point you will need to get the help of an attorney.

An attorney will know your local laws and codes. He or she will represent you in court to get the nuisance stopped. Once the behavior is stopped, you may want to sue your neighbor for damages.

If you own or rent property, you have the right to use it without being unduly disturbed by neighbors. If the behavior of you neighbors is so constant and bothersome that it causes you harm, it becomes a tort. You have the right to have such behavior stopped. An attorney can help you in this situation. He or she can tell you what your rights are and guide you through the legal process of getting the behavior stopped and getting compensation for damages that you have suffered.

About the author:  Aaron Gormley understands that everyone is entitled to enjoy all aspects of their property, which is why he personally recommends visiting the site:

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