Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
A nuisance action - is a legal action to redress harm arising from the use of one's property.
A property owner is entitled to quiet enjoyment of their property.
A private nuisance is a civil wrong; it is the unreasonable, unwarranted, or unlawful use of one's property in a manner that substantially interferes with the enjoyment or use of another individual's property, without an actual "trespass" or physical invasion to the land.
Examples of private nuisances:
1) Nuisances that interfere with the physical condition of the land include vibration or blasting that damages a house; destruction of crops; raising of a water table; or the pollution of soil, a stream, or an underground water supply.
2) Nuisances interfering with the comfort, convenience, or health of an occupant are foul odors, noxious gases, smoke, dust, loud noises, excessive light, or high temperatures. Moreover, a nuisance may also disturb an occupant's mental tranquility, such as a neighbor who keeps a vicious dog, even though an injury is only threatened and has not actually occurred.
To determine accountability for an alleged nuisance, a court will examine three factors:
1)the defendant's fault,
2)whether there has been a substantial interference with the plaintiff's interest, and
3) the reasonableness of the defendant's conduct.
Fault Fault means that the defendant intentionally, negligently, or recklessly interfered with the plaintiff's use and enjoyment of the land or that the defendant continued her conduct after learning of actual harm or substantial risk of future harm to the plaintiff's interest. For example, a defendant who continues to spray chemicals into the air after learning that they are blowing onto the plaintiff's land is deemed to be intending that result. Where it is alleged that a defendant has violated a statute, proving the elements of the statute will establish fault.
Substantial Interference The law is not intended to remedy trifles or redress petty annoyances. To establish liability under a nuisance theory, interference with the plaintiff's interest must be substantial. Determining substantial interference in cases where the physical condition of the property is affected will often be fairly straightforward. More challenging are those cases predicated on personal inconvenience, discomfort, or annoyance. To determine whether an interference is substantial, courts apply the standard of an ordinary member of the community with normal sensitivity and temperament. A plaintiff cannot, by putting his or her land to an unusually sensitive use, make a nuisance out of the defendant's conduct that would otherwise be relatively harmless.
Reasonableness of Defendant's Conduct If the interference with the plaintiff's interest is substantial, a determination must then be made that it is unreasonable for the plaintiff to bear it or to bear it without compensation. This is a "balancing" process weighing the respective interests of both parties. The law recognizes that the activities of others must be accommodated to a certain extent, particularly in matters of industry, commerce, or trade. The nature and gravity of the harm is balanced against the burden of preventing the harm and the usefulness of the conduct.
The following are factors to be considered:
A defendant may argue that legislation (such as local zoning laws or licenses) authorizes a particular activity (ie. having a farm).
A defendant may also argue that a plaintiff "came to a nuisance" by moving onto land next to an already operating source of interference (that you were already operating a farm).
While a new owner is entitled to the reasonable use and enjoyment of his or her land the same as anyone else, but they have little argument if they "came to the nuisance" and the nuisance is allowed by the local zoning.
So, given the facts and circumstances of your situation - I don't think that the neighbor has a valid argument because you were using the property as a farm for 30 years, you were there first, they moved to the nuisance, and you are operating your farm legally pursuant to the zoning laws.
I would inform you neighbor of all of the aforementioned and just say "sorry, but I'm going to continue operating my farm".
If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know…You can always ask for me in your question, “This question is for Law Pro . . (then on with your question) . . . .Please press the Accept Button(and the Smiley Face if prompted :) if I have helped you today so I am credited for my time assisting you.
OK, given your situation
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).