A nuisance is any public or private situation, activity, or condition that endangers or offends a property's residents, neighbors, passersby, or community. A private nuisance exists within a single dwelling, primarily affecting the residents therein, whereas a public nuisance impacts people who are in the greater area surrounding a property.
Fire codes, building codes, and zoning laws serve to help prevent nuisances from disturbing members of a community. As a property owner, if you are accused of owning a dangerous property or one with tenants breaking the law in some way, you could be held liable. Many factors can constitute a nuisance, including:
- Hazardous Commercial Enterprises - These may disrupt local traffic, cause toxic fumes exposure, create bad smells, or include loud machinery or other offensive manufacturing noises.
- Illegal Activity - Drug dealing and/or manufacturing, storing and/or selling stolen goods, prostitution in a commercial warehouse, or other property could endanger public safety.
- Urban Blight - Dilapidated or condemned buildings, properties littered with trash, broken down, rusty cars, or unfinished, deteriorating construction projects can all qualify as a nuisance.
- Risks to Human Health - Septic waste spills, pest infestations that may carry disease, animal droppings, toxic chemicals, and stagnant water can produce offensive odors and health risks.