When you own an area of land, the differences between private and public nuisances may seem too small to worry about.
However, both of these torts can interfere with your daily life.
Area of harm
Although both deal with inconveniencing or potentially hurting others, public nuisances typically refer to instances that interfere with a community rather than a neighbor. According to FindLaw, many private nuisances harm or annoy an individual person or small group of people. With public nuisances, many nearby citizens may face challenges to their health or comfort.
Contaminating bodies of water or releasing large amounts of unsafe fumes into the air are just two examples of common public nuisances. While not all deal with environmental factors, these problems typically affect an extensive number of people and cause adverse health-related side effects.
You may also deal with legal issues if you are store unsafe or hazardous material in your home, especially if you partake in criminal activities. Additionally, landlords of apartment buildings can evict you for being a public nuisance.
In contrast, private nuisances are smaller scale. Bright lights from a sign next door or noxious-smelling wood smoke that drifts over onto another person’s property may fall under this category. Animals, such as large dogs, that bark loudly and at all times of day may also be a problem.
Many of these cases deal heavily with property rights, since the nature of the problem can be more subjective with fewer people involved. A neighbor must have proof of major problems that have serious consequences in order for there to be a viable claim.