What Is A Private Nuisance?

A private nuisance is interference of another person's use and enjoyment of their property. For example, if your neighbor is making so much noise that you can't sleep in your bedroom, then you may hold the neighbor liable for a private nuisance.


There are two categories of nuisances.

Nuisances Per Se

These are activities of behaviors that are considered nuisances at face value. For such activities, you don't have to prove that the behavior is a nuisance; you just need to prove that the defendant did what you are claiming they did.

Most activities that fall under this category are illegal or inherently dangerous. For example, there are residential areas where it is illegal to burn trash. If someone burns trash in such an area and you can prove it, then you have already proved that what the person did was a nuisance.

Nuisances in Fact

These are activities that are only nuisances because of the prevailing circumstances. For a nuisance in fact case, you have to prove both that the defendant committed the act, and that the act is a nuisance. Here are some of the factors that determine nuisances in fact:

  • The location of the activity
  • The zoning of the area
  • The extent of the activity
  • The benefits of the activity
  • The extent of the harm

For example, it is not illegal for a person to play music. However, when someone plays music at an extremely loud volume in a residential area, then the music might be considered a nuisance in fact.


If you want relief from a nuisance, you must identify the party you want to give you the relief. For a property nuisance, below are some of the people from which you may seek relief.


If a property tenant causes you nuisance, you can hold the tenant directly liable for your damages. For example, if a person in a rented apartment is burning trash and choking you with smoke, the tenant should be liable for your damages.


Anyone who occupies a property and creates a nuisance is liable for their actions whether or not they are renting the property. Even squatters are liable for the nuisances they might create on the properties they occupy.


Lastly, the owner of a property is may also be liable for the nuisances that occur on their properties. For example, if a tenant is regularly burning their trash on residential premises, both the tenant and the landlord might be liable for the nuisances. This is especially true if the landlord knew or should have known about the nuisances on their property.

To learn more about private nuisances, contact a real estate law firm in your area.