When is Someone Really a Nuisance?

A nuisance by dictionary definition is a person or thing causing inconvenience or annoyance. That common definition is a bit different from a legal definition. A nuisance in a legal sense generally means a significant, unreasonable, repeated and or ongoing interference, affecting someone’s use or access to their property.

A Private Nuisance

The most common nuisance is normally a private one, which to be considered so in a legal sense, must not be unreasonable or trivial. Examples include behaviour, noise or smells that adversely affect a person’s right to enjoy their property.

A Public Nuisance

In contrast, a public nuisance is considered behaviour, noise or smells that adversely affect the public’s right to access property. A public nuisance can result in civil and criminal actions.

While a public nuisance is usually an act or behaviour that impacts a number of people, an individual may be able to bring an action against the offending person if they can prove the act or behaviour has had a greater impact on them.

Is my neighbour a being a nuisance?

When determining if your neighbour’s behaviour or actions are resulting in a private nuisance, remember your complaint should be reasonable and not trivial. Applying the reasonable person test is a good way to see how it might be considered by a court. Ask yourself: is their behaviour or action in question is something a reasonable person would consider unreasonable and not trivial?

When is it not really a nuisance?

If the offending behaviour or act has been tolerated for a certain length of time, the person making the complaint is sensitive to smells or noise or the complaint is not considered reasonable, then the person in question may not be a nuisance.

If you believe that you have a serious complaint, seek the guidance of a lawyer to determine if you have the grounds and evidence to support a complaint.

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