Nuisance Law & Legal Definition


In legal terminology, a nuisance is a substantial interference with the right to use and enjoy land, which may be intentional, negligent or ultrahazardous in origin, and must be a result of defendant's activity. Nuisances can include noxious smells, noise, burning, misdirection of water onto other property, illegal gambling, unauthorized collections of rusting autos, indecent signs and pictures on businesses and many other activities.

If a nuisance interferes with another person's quiet or peaceful or pleasant use of his/her property, it may be the basis for a lawsuit for damages and/or an injunction ordering the person or entity causing the nuisance to stop or limit the activity (such as closing down an activity in the evening).

Abatement of a nuisance may involve elimination of a nuisance by removal, repair, rehabilitation or demolition. Public nuisance abatement is governed by local laws, which vary by jurisdiction. For example, some nuisances, such as accumulated trash, may be resolved by filing a complaint with the local health department. Local laws often provide for notice to the person responsible for the nuisance and civil penalites if the nuisance isn't abated within a defined time period. Common concerns that are subject to abatement are tall grass, noxious weeds, junk vehicles, and unconfined garbage on private property. Other areas define a public nuisance as any real property or vehicle where criminal activity occurs. The activity can include drug violations, gambling, sex offenses, weapon offenses, gang activity, noise offenses, and disturbing the peace. Local laws should be consulted for applicable requirements in your area.