What to do about a nusiance neighbor?

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2012

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What to do about a nusiance neighbor?

We live in a rural area. Someone bought the farm across the road 2 years ago.. Since then they have barking dogs and bawling donkeys. Their new guinea hens and chickens have torn up my flower beds and garden. When we went to our township supervisors to complainbut we were told to deal with it. Now they are opening a corn maize, which will bring a lot of traffic. I put a sign in my yard staying, “Thank you Irons Mill Farmstead for ruining our nice peaceful neighborhood”. Can they do anything about it?

Asked on September 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since the township is unwilling to do anything about the nuisance caused by your neighbor, you could sue the neighbor for nuisance.  Nuisance is a serioius and unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your property.

Damages (monetary compensation) would be an inadequate remedy due to multiplicity of lawsuits as the problems are ongoing.  Damages would also be an inadequate remedy because land is unique.

When damages are an inadequate remedy as in this case, you can pursue an equitable remedy which would be an injunction.  A court will balance the benefits and burdens to both parties to determine whether or not an injunction is granted.  The benefits to you of not having the noise, traffic and damage to your flower beds and gardens would be balanced against the burden to the neighbor if the injunction is granted such as lost income from not being able to open the corn maize.

The court may issue a temporary restraining order to be in effect until a preliminary hearing.  The preliminary hearing will determine whether or not a preliminary injunction should be granted until trial at which time the court will determine whether or not to grant a permanent injunction.


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