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Nuisance Caused by Neighbours And Their Pets

My neighbours are causing a nuisance, what can I do?

What is Nuisance?

There are two types of Nuisance: Private and Public. A private nuisance refers to the unreasonable, unwarranted or unlawful use of one’s property in a manner that substantially interferes with the enjoyment or use of another person’s property. A public nuisance refers to an act or omission that obstructs, damages or inconveniences the rights of the community.

Nuisance caused by a neighbour’s pets, such as the excessive barking of a dog, falls into the category of private nuisances which is a civil wrong.

Remedies for Nuisance

The following steps can be taken against your neighbours:

  • Lodge a complaint with your local authority by way of a written statement. Your local authority can then instruct the reduction of noise and thereafter issue a fine if your neighbours fail to comply with the instruction.
  • If the above does not seem to work, you can approach a court for relief by way of an interdict. Should your neighbour fail to comply with the interdict, he/she can be found guilty of contempt of court and can be ordered to pay a fine.
  • You can also approach a court to sue your neighbour for damages as a result of excessive noise.

It is important to note that in order to apply for the above remedies, the nuisance suffered must be both substantial and continuous.

Who can apply for the above-mentioned remedies?

Any person who has a property interest in the land can apply for these remedies. This does not only include the land owners but also tenants or lessees.