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nuisance,in law, an act that, without legal justification, interferes with safety, comfort, or the use of property. A private nuisance (e.g., erecting a wall that shuts off a neighbor's light) is one that affects one or a few persons, while a public nuisance (e.g., conducting a disorderly house) affects many persons. In some cases the victim of a private nuisance may abate it (e.g., tear down the wall). Damages are available to a party who suffers from a private nuisance or who is especially injured by a public nuisance, and courts will issue injunctions against continuing nuisances. Since public nuisances are injurious to the community, they may be prosecuted as crimes. Nuisance is a flexible legal category. Thus, while a slaughterhouse is lawful in a manufacturing district, it may be a nuisance in a residential quarter. Activities, such as operating blast furnaces, once deemed nuisances, are now recognized as indispensable and lawful.
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1. A public nuisance is said to exist in a building, structure, or premise: (a) if it is insufficiently cleaned, drained, lighted, or ventilated for the intended usage, (b) if it poses conditions detrimental to public health or dangerous to human life, and/or (c) if its air or water supplies are unwholesome.
2. A continuing legal wrong, usually committed by an owner or occupant of property on neighboring persons or property.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Law something unauthorized that is obnoxious or injurious to the community at large (public nuisance) or to an individual, esp in relation to his ownership or occupation of property (private nuisance)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005