Skilled Phoenix Attorneys Counseling Clients on Nuisance Laws in Arizona
Helping families file claims for offenses against their property
The guy the with the lifted truck with high beams that come in through your window. The woman who’s somehow trained her dog to “go” only on your lawn (even though she picks it up every time). That group of kids that strolls, eight across, right down the middle of your street, screaming and shrieking, then parts like the Red Sea when a car comes. There’s no doubt about it: they make life a little less tranquil than you might like. They might not always be neighborly, but they are not technically a nuisance – at least, not in the legal sense.
But sometimes, the people who live, work or run their businesses in or around residential areas participate in activities that devalue your property, ruin the air quality, and otherwise make it impossible for you to experience life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These individuals and companies could be in violation of Arizona’s nuisance laws. If they are, the Phoenix-based lawyers of Plattner Verderame, P.C. may be able to help. We represent property owners throughout the state who wish to files claims for offenses against their enjoyment of personal property.
What are Arizona’s nuisance laws?
Under AZ Rev Stat § 13-2917 (2016):
A. It is a public nuisance, and is no less a nuisance because the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted is unequal, for anything:
- To be injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses or an obstruction to the free use of property that interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood or by a considerable number of persons.
- To unlawfully obstruct the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, river, bay, stream, canal or basin, or any public park, square, street or highway.
[ … ]
D. Any person who knowingly maintains or commits a public nuisance or who knowingly fails or refuses to perform any legal duty relating to the removal of a public nuisance is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.
In layman’s terms, nuisance laws are designed to protect collective property owners’ rights to use and enjoy their property. The examples we used earlier are annoying, yes – but unless they fit into the statute above, they aren’t necessarily a legal nuisance.
Private vs. public nuisance in Arizona
There is a difference between a private nuisance and a public nuisance. A private nuisance is usually filed by one individual against another – against the neighbor whose dog keeps digging holes into your back yard, or who blasts his or her music until late into the night – and handled in civil court. Many times, these actions result in fines or small claims awards.
A public nuisance, however, would be filed by a group of people. In order to file an offense to property claim, you must be able to prove that the actions of an outside party have negatively impacted the lives of you and your neighbors. Some common examples might include:
- A company erecting high-rise buildings along a lake, thus cutting off the view that you and your neighbors had of said lake, which is turns lowers your property value.
- A business engaging in practices which lead to chronic noise and air pollution, such as the manufacturing or chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers.
- The neighbors who recently bought some cattle, which moo and low all throughout the night, and have caused the entire neighborhood to smell like cow pies.
- Companies whose products endanger the lives and wellbeing of the people around them. Local governments in Alabama and Ohio currently have nuisance cases pending against opioid manufacturers in their states.
- A neighbor (in the immediate vicinity or not) installing bright lights or spot lights, which flood the neighborhood all night long.
- The township which allows an abandoned home to fall into disrepair, which could increase the amount of scavenging wildlife in the neighborhood, pose a hazard to electrical lines because of untrimmed trees, increase the amount of disease-carrying vermin and insects, etc.
- Building owners which allow their property to fall into disrepair, thus posing a threat to tenants, as was the case for a woman in Pittsburgh who ended up trapped in a building for 9 hours.
An important note: The law is clear that you cannot move into a nuisance and then complain about that nuisance. This understanding was put into law by the famous Del Webb communities in the west Valley. Del Webb moved close to existing cow farms and tried to get the farms to shut down. However, the Courts decided that the individuals there first have the right to protect their turf.
Making a successful claim for an offense against your property
The first step to a successful claim under the nuisance laws is working with a skilled attorney. These cases, though they might seem cut-and-dry to those making the complaint, can be quite complicated. You do not want to handle this on your own. Our attorneys will research the zoning laws in your area, speak with witnesses and other residents of the area, work with environmental scientists and other experts, and document all evidence of complaint, both in writing and with photographs. We seek to prove that the actions taken by the other party continually interfere with your way of life, and that they harm the value and worth of your land. We will seek injunctive relief on behalf of you and your neighbors to ensure that these actions are stopped.
Experienced Phoenix nuisance claims lawyers helping property owners seek relief
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we advocate on behalf of residents throughout Arizona. If an offense has been committed against your property, we will fight to ensure that your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not infringed upon. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys in Phoenix, please call 602-783-8793, or contact us to discuss your legal options.