Running into interference: private & public nuisance law in Pennsylvania
Nuisances are inconveniences caused by others, whether intentionally or as a result of negligence. These nuisances, which can be private or public, are invasions or interference’s of any kind that get in the way of a person’s enjoyment of his or her personal property. A public nuisance involves interference with the public’s right to use, have access to, or enjoy property. A private nuisance interferes with the property owner’s right to the “quiet enjoyment” of their real owned property.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Kembel v. Schlegel, defined the tort of private nuisance in Pennsylvania as the following:
A property owner is subject to liability for a private nuisance if, but only if, his conduct is the thing that encroaches another’s interest in the private use and enjoyment of land, and the encroachment is either a. intentional and unreasonable, or b. unintentional and otherwise actionable under the rules controlling liability for negligent or reckless conduct, or for abnormally dangerous conditions or activities.
In the case of private nuisance, note that the criminal act of trespassing does not constitute private nuisance, despite the fact that it may and often is an obstacle to the property owner’s quiet enjoyment of their property. When such interference arise, such as the encroachment of a neighbor’s tree limb that is causing damage to an adjacent home, a person may address the situation by asking the neighbor (in writing) to correct it. If that fails, these and other nuisances should be put in the hands of attorneys in the attempt to get satisfactory resolutions.
Nuisances such as loud noises, noxious smells or other types of disturbance (but not trespassing) that is preventing the enjoyment of your property could indicate offenses worthy of legal recourse. Our experienced team of attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of private nuisance law in Pennsylvania, and have represented others acting on their reasonable and lawful right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property. Schedule a free initial consultation with us to explore your options.
References & Resources
Kembel v. Schlegel, 478 A.2d 11(Pa. Super. Ct. 1984)