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Nuisance claims

Nuisance disputes can prove to be an extremely stressful and distressing situation, but we have the experience to amicably resolve the situation.

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Our expert team have extensive experience in successfully resolving all manner of nuisance disputes.

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We're ready to support our clients and what matters to them, regardless of the complexity and value of the claim.

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We aim to provide practical advice with a view to actively progressing your claim to the resolution you wish to achieve.

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Understanding nuisance claims

Nuisance claims can generally be divided into two types and can be made under common law or as a statutory claim under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Private nuisance

A private nuisance is where the actions of the defendant cause significant and unreasonable interference with the claimant’s land or their use of that land.

They are typically caused by a person doing something on their own land, which they are lawfully entitled to do, but which becomes a nuisance when the consequences of the actions extend to the land of his neighbour.

For example, this can be levels of noise, dust, tree roots, water ingress and so on, resulting in either physical damage or interference with the quiet enjoyment of land.

The claim is primarily brought against the creator of that nuisance, even if that person is not the occupier or owner of the land from which the nuisance originates.

There are a series of key points which must be established for a successful claim in nuisance, including:

  • There was an unreasonable use of the defendant’s land
  • The impact was a reasonably foreseeable consequence
  • An adverse effect was had on the claimant’s land
  • The location of the land
  • The duration of the nuisance

A claimant can take civil proceedings against the defendant for:

  • Compensation for their losses
  • Relief to abate a continuing nuisance and prevent its recurrence

Common defences to a nuisance claim include:

  • A nuisance that has been continuing uninterrupted for a period of 20 years or more as this would give the person causing the nuisance a right to continue
  • Where there is a right under statute to carry out the activity then no claim can be made. However, it must be shown the nuisance was a direct outcome of the statutory act permitted and that it could not have been avoided

It is not a defence to claim that the nuisance existed before the claimant moved into the property and therefore, they should have been aware of it before coming.

Public nuisance

A public nuisance is where the actions of the defendant affect the reasonable comfort and convenience of a person.

In such instances, the important point is to evidence a degree of interference that is more than trivial or slight, although this does necessarily have to include actual damage.

Your local authority may have scope to advance such a claim pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and subsequently issue an abatement notice on the defendant. If the notice is not complied with, further enforcement action in the Magistrates Court can be undertaken.

Expert advice

We work with a number of leading insurance providers to offer their customers access to our expert legal advice and support on a wide range of issues. Check your policy details for more information, or contact us below.