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Nuisance and Harassment

Legally reviewed by:

Wyn Legal team


The courts have identified three different categories of nuisance which are:

  1. Encroachment of a neighbour’s land.
  2. Direct physical injury to a neighbour’s land.
  3. Interference with a neighbour’s quiet enjoyment of their land.

A nuisance is usually caused by a person doing something on their own land, which they are lawfully entitled to do but which becomes a nuisance when the consequence of their act extends to the land of their neighbour.

In order to succeed with a claim for nuisance, the damage or interference with the enjoyment of the neighbour’s land:

  1. Must be substantial or unreasonable.
  2. It can arise from a single incident or a “state of affairs”.
  3. It can be caused by inaction or omission as well as by some positive activity.



In some circumstances the behaviour of a neighbour may amount to harassment rather than nuisance. 

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”) makes harassment both a criminal and civil offence.  The 1997 Act prohibits any individual pursuing a course of conduct against another individual that amounts to harassment.

There are some key considerations before commencing formal court action for a nuisance.

  1. Court action can be expensive, therefore, the parties should consider whether a form of mediation or negotiation has been explored. 
  2. Neighbour relations are unique in that you will need to continue living next door to your neighbour during formal court action. Therefore, exploring ways to amicably resolve disputes should be encouraged. 
  3. The limitation on making a claim in nuisance is six years from when quantifiable or ascertainable loss is suffered.
  4. The burden of proof in demonstrating the nuisance is on the claimant to prove its case to the civil standard (the balance of probabilities).
  5. The claimant will have to prove that the defendant was responsible for or caused the nuisance and that it has damaged the claimant’s land or substantially interfered with the claimant’s interest in the property.
  6. Expert evidence is likely going to be needed to instruct an expert to provide expert evidence in court. For example, the expert may provide evidence to demonstrate how the defendant’s activity is causing a nuisance to the claimant’s land.

We assist both claimants and defendants in nuisance and harassment claims. We understand that swift and robust action is generally required. Therefore, we can assist you with the following:

  1. Taking time to understand the matter and the factual matrix surrounding the complaint. 
  2. Drafting or responding to a cease and desist letter (usually within 24 hours of being instructed).
  3. Drafting a formal letter before action.
  4. Partaking or taking the lead on mediation.
  5. Drafting or resisting applications for an injunction pursuant to the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 or The Protection from Harassment Act 1997).
  6. In certain circumstances, assist in making an application for a Community Protection Notice.
  7. Represent and guide you throughout the court process.
Evict A Tenant Chigwell, UK