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Nuisance Issues: California Laws and Remedies for Property Owners

LS Carlson Law October 2nd, 2023

Living in a peaceful and enjoyable environment is a vital aspect of property ownership. However, nuisance issues can disrupt the tranquility of your home. This article will explore nuisance issues in California, relevant laws and precedents, and how a real estate attorney can help.

Understanding Nuisance:
California Civil Code section 3479 defines a nuisance as including any “obstruction to the free use of property so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.” Nuisances can be public or private, taking various forms, including excessive noise, offensive odors, or any other disturbance that significantly impacts your quality of life or health.

A public nuisance affects an entire community or neighborhood. Cal. Civ. Code § 3480. A private individual can only sue for a public nuisance if it is specially injurious to them. Cal. Civ. Code § 3493. An example of a public nuisance could be a house that throws nightly parties creating excessive noise throughout the neighborhood.

A private nuisance is the “unreasonable, unwarrantable or unlawful use by an individual of his own property so as to interfere with the rights of others.” Wolford v. Thomas, 190 Cal. App. 3d 347, 358 (1987). An example of a private nuisance is a neighbor who allows garbage to pile up in their law, attracting vermin.

Remedies for Nuisance Issues:
• Self-Help Measures: Property owners have the right to take reasonable self-help measures to abate nuisance issues. Such actions may involve directly addressing the source of the nuisance, such as requesting your neighbor to reduce noise levels or eliminate offensive odors. Proactive communication with neighbors can prevent disputes from reaching the level where mediation or litigation is necessary.

• Mediation: If self-help and open communication with the responsible party is insufficient to resolve a nuisance issue, mediation may be a productive next step. Mediation provides an opportunity for both parties in a dispute to express concerns and explore potential solutions under the supervision of a neutral third party.

• Filing a Lawsuit: If informal resolution attempts fail, pursuing litigation may be necessary.

Consulting a Real Estate Attorney:
Handling nuisances often requires knowledge of relevant California laws and legal precedents. If you are facing persistent nuisance problems and require legal guidance, the team at LS Carlson Law is here to help. Our experienced real estate attorneys can provide the expertise needed to protect your rights and pursue a favorable resolution of your nuisance issue. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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