A nuisance in Utah is defined as “anything that is injurious to health, indecent, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoying of life or property.” Utah Code 78B-6-1101.
Here is a brief outline and summary of Utah Nuisance Law.
Definition of nuisance (subsection 1)
Examples of things that can be considered a nuisance (subsection 2)
Secondhand smoke drifting into rental units as a nuisance (subsection 3)
Exceptions where secondhand smoke is not considered a nuisance (subsections 4 and 5)
Who can file a nuisance lawsuit (subsection 6)
Nuisance lawsuits against farms follow different rules (subsection 7)
A nuisance is something that causes harm, is offensive, or gets in the way of enjoying your property. It can be illegal.
Some examples of possible nuisances are drug houses, gambling, gang activity, loud party houses, and prostitution.
Cigarette smoke the drifts into a rental home from another unit can be a nuisance. This doesn’t apply to vacation or short term rentals.
If smoke drifts in more than once over a week period for 2 weeks in a row, you may be able to sue.
You can only sue if the smoke bothers you and makes it harder to enjoy your rental.
Different rules apply if the nuisance is from a farm operation.
Definition of Nuisance (Subsection 1)
A nuisance is defined broadly as anything that:
Is harmful to health
Is offensive to the senses
Obstructs the free use of property
Interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property
A nuisance is a valid cause of action under which someone can file a lawsuit
Examples of Things Considered a Nuisance (Subsection 2)
Several statutes are cited defining specific things that constitute nuisance under Utah law:
Drug houses and drug dealing
Criminal activity committed by 3 or more persons
Criminal activity related to street gangs
To gain membership or status in a gang
Or directed by a gang
Frequently loud party houses
Secondhand Smoke as a Nuisance (Subsection 3)
Tobacco smoke that drifts from one residential or commercial unit into another rented, leased, or owned unit can qualify as a nuisance
Must drift into the unit more than once in each of two or more consecutive 7-day periods
Must interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property of the affected unit
Exceptions (Subsections 4 and 5)
Does not apply to temporary vacation rentals or rentals less than 30 days
Does not apply to hotel/motel rooms
Does not apply to timeshare units
Who Can File a Lawsuit (Subsection 6)
A person whose property is negatively affected or whose personal enjoyment is lessened due to the nuisance
Farm Nuisances (Subsection 7)
Nuisance lawsuits against agricultural operations follow different rules under Title 4, Chapter 44 of Utah law
Nuisance law is complex with many specifics under Utah statutes. Any person or company considering filing a nuisance lawsuit should consult a qualified Utah attorney to review the details of their situation and determine whether they have a valid case. The attorney can advise on the best course of action.
Once recent case in Utah involving nuisance law is Steffensen-WC, LLC v. Volunteers of Am. of Utah, Inc., 2016 UT App 49.
This case involves an appeal by Steffensen-WC of the dismissal of its lawsuit against Volunteers of America (VOA) regarding VOA’s plans to build a homeless shelter on property adjacent to Steffensen-WC’s apartment building. Steffensen-WC alleged that the planned shelter would create a private nuisance. Steffensen-WC unsuccessfully argued that the homeless shelter was an “anticipated nuisance” because the shelter had not yet been built.
The key issues on appeal were: 1) whether the court had jurisdiction despite Steffensen-WC’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies (the court found the exhaustion requirement did not apply to the VOA claims); 2) whether the district court erred in allowing and relying on VOA’s reply brief on the motion to dismiss (the court found the reply brief appropriately rebutted matters raised by Steffensen-WC); and 3) whether Steffensen-WC sufficiently pleaded a claim for anticipatory nuisance (the court found Steffensen-WC had not).
On the third issue, the appeals court outlined the elements required for anticipatory nuisance claims in other jurisdictions, noting the high burden of proof. The court affirmed the dismissal, finding that Steffensen-WC focused its complaint on a private nuisance claim and did not provide fair notice of an anticipatory nuisance claim or allege required elements of such a claim.
The appeals court determined the exhaustion requirement did not deprive it of jurisdiction, found no error in the district court’s consideration of briefing, and affirmed the dismissal for failure to adequately plead a claim for relief under a theory of anticipatory nuisance.
When you need legal help with a nuisance lawyer in Utah, call attorney Jeremy Eveland (801) 613-1472. He might be able to help you.
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Real Estate Nuisance Law Consultation
When you need help from an Real Estate Lawyer in Utah, call Jeremy D. Eveland, MBA, JD (801) 613-1472 for a consultation.
17 North State Street
Lindon UT 84042