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What is a private nuisance?

No matter where you live, there will be people who will be frustrating to deal with. Some may be neighbors; others may be people who pass through your neighborhood.

While annoying, not every neighborly frustration reaches the level of nuisance.

These are answers to some of the most common questions about private nuisances.

What actions qualify as a nuisance?

In the simplest terms, a private nuisance is anything that interferes with your enjoyment of your property. Actions that could disrupt your use of your property can include activities such as:

  • Selling illegal substances
  • Operating a business when not permitted in the area
  • Shooting guns or other loud activities
  • Farming in an unapproved area

The person who is creating the nuisance may not be a neighbor. You may notice people driving or walking down your street who are interfering with time on your property.

What can I do about an obnoxious neighbor?

Your first step might be to talk to your neighbor. Your neighbor may not realize that what they are doing is bothering you. Depending on the activity, it might be possible to reach an agreement that makes you both happy.

You may also want to look at the California code and the code for your city to see if there are guidelines about what they consider a nuisance. If there is not a specific mention of the obnoxious activity, you may want to talk to a local legislator about making a change.

If you live in a Homeowners Association, you may have different standards (often stricter) and other options for dealing with your neighbor. Talk to the head of your association to learn more about the specific requirements of your neighborhood and how to resolve your issue.

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