Nuisance Law in New Zealand: Protecting Your Property from Neighbours’ Interference

19 June, 2023 | Nathan Tetzlaff

As a landowner, it can be frustrating and concerning to see the actions of your neighbours affecting your property. One problem that can arise (and which is especially topical following the recent storms) is things on one property making their way to the neighbours’ and causing damage or creating a nuisance. Fortunately, the law provides remedies for landowners in these situations.

What is Nuisance?

First, it’s important to understand the legal concept of nuisance. Nuisance refers to any activity or condition that interferes with the use and enjoyment of one’s property. This can include anything from noise pollution to physical damage caused by debris or other materials. In order to establish a nuisance claim, the landowner must show that the interference is substantial and unreasonable, and that it has a significant impact on their use and enjoyment of the property.

Examples of nuisance

An extreme example is the mountains of forestry slash washed down rivers following Cyclone Gabrielle. Other examples include trees or small structures washed onto neighbouring properties. In some cases, if water flows from a neighbouring property (for example due to poor drainage) it may constitute a nuisance. If a landowner can show that emanations from a neighbour’s property have damaged or prevented their use of their property beyond what is reasonably tolerable, they may have a valid nuisance claim against their neighbour.

What is the process for making a nuisance claim?

In order to pursue a nuisance claim, the landowner must first notify the neighbour of the problem and request that they take action to prevent further damage. If the neighbour fails to address the issue, the landowner may then have grounds to file a lawsuit. The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether a nuisance exists, including the nature and extent of the interference, the character of the neighbourhood, and the landowner’s efforts to mitigate the problem.

If the court finds that a nuisance exists, it may order the neighbour to take specific actions to remedy the situation, such as properly containing the nuisance or removing it. In some cases, the court may also award damages to the landowner for any harm caused by the nuisance.

It’s worth noting that there are some limitations to nuisance law. For example, if the infringing emanation is permitted by law, the landowner may not have a valid nuisance claim. Additionally, if the landowner has contributed to the problem in some way (for example, by failing to maintain their own property), this may also affect their ability to pursue a claim.

Overall, if you’re a landowner who is experiencing damage or interference due to a neighbour’s forestry slash or other materials, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. While pursuing a nuisance claim can be a time-consuming and potentially expensive process, it may be the best way to protect your property and ensure that your neighbour takes responsibility for their actions. If you’re considering pursuing a nuisance claim, it’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you understand your options.

Don’t let nuisance issues jeopardize your property rights. Contact our expert disputes team today to take action and protect your property. Our dedicated team of legal professionals is ready to guide you through the process, assess your situation, and help you pursue the best course of action. Don’t wait – secure your peace of mind now. Reach out to us to set up an appointment and let us assist you in resolving your nuisance concerns effectively.

Contact personal assistance to the Disputes Resolution & Litigation Team, Claudene Isaacs on 09 837 6830 or email today to set up an appointment.

Safeguard your property from nuisance – Contact our law firm for expert assistance now! Contact expert NZ Property Disputes Lawyer, Nathan Tetzlaff today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.


email Nathan
+64 9 8376890

About the author

With a reputation for tenacity, expertise, and unwavering commitment to his clients, Nathan Tetzlaff is a formidable force in civil litigation. As a distinguished senior litigation lawyer at Smith and Partners, he provides valued insight to even the most complex
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