In the old days, people in California lived far apart from each other, and most people enjoyed a great deal of privacy on their land. Today, houses are built right next to each other in populous cities, and people live very close to their neighbors. The closer neighbors are to each other, the easier it is for one neighbor to become a private or a public nuisance.
The law of nuisance was one of the first laws that was ever applied to property disputes in the United States. When populations started to increase in certain areas, people had more reasons to sue each other for the way that they were using their land. A property owner may be accused of creating a nuisance if they are using their property in a way that interferes with their neighbor's enjoyment of their property.
A private nuisance is something on a property that negatively affects nearby neighbors without physically invading the neighbors' property. Some examples of a private nuisance could be bad odors or loud noises coming from a property. If a nuisance on a property has an effect on an entire neighborhood it could be considered a public nuisance. A factory that emits toxic smoke and a racetrack that produces loud noise are some examples of a public nuisance.
A judge will consider several different factors in a dispute over an alleged public or private nuisance. Zoning laws and the degree of nuisance that was created by a property owner are a couple of the things that a judge will be interested in. An attorney may be able to help an individual who is involved in a neighbor dispute to prove that a neighbor created a private nuisance.