Some people have problems with their neighbour’s behaviour affecting negatively the use of their land such as by creating loud noises, fumes, vibration, pollution of the surface and excessive light.
Did you know that the legal use of one’s land could create a claim for private nuisance by one’s neighbour? The definition of private nuisance is given in section 46 of the Civil Wrongs Law. Interestingly, the legal use of your land may amount to nuisance if the consequences of such use affects your neighbour’s property. Proper use is a balance between the right of the occupier to freely use such property, without affecting the rights of a neighbour.
In the case Giavri v Pasiou, the defendant was a tenant and owner of a laundry located on the ground floor of a building. The claimants who were living in separate apartments above the laundry, filed a joint legal action against the defendant for private nuisance caused by fumes and noise. They also demanded an injunction in order to prevent these acts which were causing nuisance. The District Court dismissed the case even though it found the existence of nuisance. It refused to issue an injunction to eliminate the nuisance because the claimant did not allow the defendant to extend the piping or even to install a fume evacuation mechanism by allowing the fumes to flow to the rest of the building.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court reversed the decision stating that in such cases the claimants have no obligation to assist the defendant in order to avert the nuisance and finally issued an injunction.
The above case constitutes a clear example that the Courts in Cyprus are not reluctant to adopt a broad test in favour of the victim by issuing an injunction to stop the nuisance and award compensation even though there are no monetary damages. For example, in the case Palantzi v. Agroti the Court considering the noise from the defendant's cold-store accepted that there was an inconvenience interfering with the ordinary physical comfort and with the reasonable use and enjoyment of the appellant' s house. Therefore, the claimant was granted an injunction preventing the defendant from carrying out activities which amount to nuisance between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Importantly, the Court according to the facts of each case may grant special damages in cases, for example, where the nuisance is diminishing the value of the property or where the property cannot be rented as a result of a private nuisance. It may also grant a small amount as a symbolic compensation where there are no special damages, but the owner of the property is unable to reasonably enjoy the property as a result of the nuisance. Finally, the Court usually issues an injunction to compel the defendant to stop the acts which constitute a nuisance.
The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on a specific matter before acting on any information provided.