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Nuisance: Land and Real Estate

Nuisance is not a stand-alone tort with its own special rules. Rather, a nuisance is a type of harm — the invasion of either private property rights or public rights, intentionally or negligently. More often than not, however, nuisances generally are intentionally interferences with someone’s use or enjoyment of his or her land/real estate.

Nuisance is divided into private nuisance versus public nuisance.

To prevail on a claim for private nuisance, you must first establish that there has been a substantial interference with your land. This interference must be objectively substantial. In other words, the reasonable, average person in the community must think that there has been a substantial interference — not just the ultra-sensitive Plaintiff. Second, there has to be showing of an unreasonable interference. Courts will look at the injury versus the utility caused by defendant’s conduct in determining reasonableness. If the benefits outweigh the harm, a Court will be prone to hold that the action does not constitute a nuisance.

What makes public nuisance difference is the scope of the nuisance. Instead of being perpetrated against one landowner(s), a public nuisance is an act that unreasonably interferes with the health, safety, or property rights of the community.

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