Understanding Nuisance in US Property Rights Law

When it comes to property rights, nuisance is an important concept to understand. A nuisance is an activity or thing that substantially and unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of a person's land. There are two main types of nuisance: private and public. Private nuisance occurs when there is a loss of use or enjoyment of a property without an actual physical invasion.

An action for physical invasion of property is known as a break-in action. On the other hand, public nuisance has the capacity to affect the health, safety, well-being, or comfort of the general public. Certain types of conduct are classified as nuisances by law, while others have long been considered a nuisance by the courts. Any activity that does not fall within those categories is determined on a case-by-case basis by a fact-evaluator (usually the judge). Public nuisance is an entirely different area of law and refers to the right of public authorities or large groups of people to initiate action to protect the public or that group. Lawsuits that are based on the law of nuisance usually involve neighbors suing their neighbors or a public official suing the owner of a property for the benefit of the general public.

However, individuals also have the right to enjoy their property without excessive interference from another party. Nuisance laws allow you to take legal action when another party unreasonably infringes on your enjoyment of your property. The law of nuisance was one of the first doctrines applied to property disputes in the United States and was inherited from England. It is distinguished from illegal entry in that mere intentional entry to land may constitute illegal entry, since it violates the right to exclusive possession and creates the right to sue. In its simplest sense, a nuisance for a property owner is an action or condition of other owners that unreasonably interferes with one's use of their property.