What would be acceptable conditions to sue a neighbor for nuisance?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What would be acceptable conditions to sue a neighbor for nuisance?

We have had ongoing issues with a neighbor for a year now..deliberate horn honking, dog barking at us when we go outside, and other related actions designed to annoy. These actions stem from me putting a security system in and putting a sign on my property advertising this. We have had the State Police over there, Animal Control, and a cease and desist letter ignored. Each time they are spoken to, they move on to a different action. The actions are bothering my wife and I greatly and limiting our enjoyment of our home.I should also add that we have 2 DVR cameras that have recorded all of the activity I mentioned, so there is proof of their behavior as well as a written log.

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

This is not a "nuisance" in the eyes of the law: a nuisance has a very specific meaning, which is an action or use not appropriate for that area, such as a bar/restaurant in a residential area playing loud music, audible by neighbors, late at night; or some diversion of a hazard or problem from one own's property onto a neighbors, like grading so as to divert surface water to your neighbor. 

What you describe *might* be harassment, but the problem is that your neighbors seem to be smart enough to keep it a level and type that the authorities are not dealing with and for which it would be very difficult to get any meaningful amount of compensation or even an enforceable court order. For example, dogs bark; most courts would be relucatant to award money for a dog barking.

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