Nuisance

No claim against neighbor for damage caused by overhanging healthy tree

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has reaffirmed the "Massachusetts rule" that owners cannot sue their neighbors for any damage caused by an overhanging healthy tree. Shiel v. Rowell, 101 N.E.3d 290 (Mass. 2018). The remedy is for the owner to trim the branches that encroach on his property before they cause damage. In upholding the established rule, the court rejected the "Hawaii rule" which imposes liability on the owner of the tree if it causes harm to neighboring property. See Whitesell v. Houlton,... Read more about No claim against neighbor for damage caused by overhanging healthy tree

City has a constitutional due process obligation to notify an owner that the owner's property has been adjudicated to be blighted and subject to condemnation

Colorado statutes create a procedure for designating property as blighted and subject to condemnation and transfer either to public use or transfer to another owner. While the statute required notice when the city begins studying whether the property is blighted and when a public hearing is held, it did not require notice of a decision that the property is in fact blighted. The Tenth Circuit found this to violate the due process clause because the...

Read more about City has a constitutional due process obligation to notify an owner that the owner's property has been adjudicated to be blighted and subject to condemnation

Legal questions about landlord liability when one tenant harasses another

Is a landlord liable for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment if one tenant harasses another and the landlord does not intervene in some way, either by trying to resolve the dispute or by evicting the harassing tenant? To answer this question we must distinguish two types of legal claims. In the first type of claim, the victim of the harassment claims “constructive eviction” and asks to be relieved of her rental obligations by moving out before the end of the term. In the second type of claim, the tenant sues the landlord for monetary damages for failing to protect her...

Read more about Legal questions about landlord liability when one tenant harasses another

"Massachusetts rule" reaffirmed: no liability if an overhanging tree damages neighboring property

A Massachusetts court has reaffirmed the "Massachusetts rule" that "an individual whose property is damaged by an overhanging tree has no cause of action against a landowner of the property upon which the tree lies." Shiel v. Rowell, 2017 WL 3616892 (Mass. App. Div. 2017), citing Ponte v. DaSilva, 446 N.E.2d 77 (Mass. 1983). The court noted the contrary "Hawaii rule" that does make a tree owner financially responsible if her own trees overhangs neighboring property and damages it.

No right to be protected from aesthetic nuisance (solar panels)

Courts traditionally refuse to recognize aesthetic nuisances. The mere objection to the appearance of structures on neighboring property is insufficient to constitute a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of land. Although some courts in recent years have recognized the possibility of an aesthetic nuisance, the Vermont Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the traditional rule when owners complained of ugly solar panels on neighboring property owned by companies that used the land to construct solar arrays. ... Read more about No right to be protected from aesthetic nuisance (solar panels)

Cell tower on neighboring property is not an aesthetic nuisance

In Laubenstein v. Bode Tower, LLC, 392 P.3d 706, 2016 OK 118 (Okla. 2016), the Oklahoma Supreme Court refused to recognize a cell tower on neighboring property as a nuisance. The neighboring owner complained both about the tower's appearance as well as the flashing warning lights installed for safety purposes which reflected in the water on his property. The court based its ruling partly on... Read more about Cell tower on neighboring property is not an aesthetic nuisance

High-rise apartment building held to be a private nuisance

In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the power of municipalities to enact zoning laws that limit land to residential use and even to single-family homes. Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926). The Euclid decision suggested that apartment buildings might constitute nuisances and destroy the “residential character” of a neighborhood. Id. at 394–395. Is that a legitimate way to characterize apartment buildings and/or the people who live in them? In the 2014 case of...

Read more about High-rise apartment building held to be a private nuisance

Private owner may not sue for public nuisance without proof of special injury

The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the traditional rule (rejected now by some courts) that a private owner cannot sue for a public nuisance unless the owner can show special damage to the owner's property that is different in scope or character to that suffered by the general public. Hale v. Ward County, 848 N.W.23 245 (N.D. 2014).

Read more about Private owner may not sue for public nuisance without proof of special injury