Claims that someone is causing a nuisance can cover all types of actions, including:
- Interfering with a person’s enjoyment of their land, for example by causing noise, smell or smoke;
- Actual physical damage to their property, including damage caused by encroaching tree roots, flooding and contamination by sewage;
- Interfering with the enjoyment of an easement relating to land, for example the right to light;
- Causing increased water or other substances to be discharged onto someone’s land without right;
- Interfering with a right of support to land from neighboring land;
- Interfering with a person’s right of way.
If nuisance is alleged, a civil claim for damages and/or abatement of the action amounting to nuisance may be pursued, together with a claim for legal costs.
It is important to understand that whether an act amounts to harassment requires consideration of common law established by the courts in previous cases, over a number of years. Interpretation and application of the cases can be complicated and therefore it is best to obtain legal advice as soon as possible, if you want to deal with the matter in the most cost effective way.
Who can Claim?
Private nuisance requires the person bringing the claim to have some connection with the land affected, to enable a claim for interference with the enjoyment of the land. This can mean that the property owner may potentially be able to sue, as could a tenant who occupied the affected property.
Who can be sued?
It is surprising to some that the person causing the nuisance can be sued if they occupy the land from where the nuisance originates, but so too can the occupier of the land such as the tenant. More surprising still is the fact that in some circumstances a landlord, where a tenant in in occupation of the property, can still be sued for acts done by the tenant if the landlord expressly or impliedly authorised the nuisance. Usually the most appropriate person to bring the claim against however is the occupier of the land from which the nuisance emanates, on the basis they have ‘continued’ or ‘adopted’ it.
It is important to note that it is not a defence to say you are no longer the owner of the land from which the nuisance emanates, if the nuisance was created during their period of ownership.
Still unclear as to whether you can bring a claim or defend a claim for nuisance? Contact our team today.
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