All property owners that are members of a homeowners association which manages a common interest development are responsible for complying with state and local laws and the provisions contained in the associations governing documents. The applicable laws and an associations governing documents will contain important provisions that prohibit owners from engaging in activities that are, or could become, an unreasonable annoyance (nuisance) to others. This article is intended to educate owners of condominiums and other properties that are part of a common interest development on the types of activities that may constitute a prohibited nuisance and the mechanics of the process of dealing with a nuisance.

Common Activities That Create a Nuisance

In general terms, activities that have been found to create a nuisance typically involve:

  • An unreasonable interference with one or more other persons use or quiet enjoyment of their separate interest or exclusive use common area.
  • An activity that creates conditions which are hazardous or offensive to others.
  • An activity that causes the cancellation or non-renewal of an insurance policy maintained by the association or another owner.
  • An activity that constitutes a violation of any applicable local, state or federal law.

Common Activities That Result in Nuisance Claims

Everyday activities that are commonly the subject of nuisance claims and disputes in homeowners associations include Odors, Noise, Hoarding, Pets, Clutter, Fire, Home Offices, and Construction Activities. The nuisances that could result from each of these everyday activities are detailed below:
Odors
Activities that create odors such as cigarette, cigar and marijuana smoke, food, pet waste, garbage and other items within a unit/lot or exclusive use common areacan not only be unpleasant to neighboring residents, but can attract pests and rodents, which pose a health and safety issue. Such activities are often found to be offensive or hazardous, and thus constitute a nuisance.
Noise
Frequent nuisance issues in common interest developments involve noise that is related to conduct in both common areas such as a pool area or clubhouse, and individual residences. Noise nuisance complaints result from many different types of activities including, but not limited to such things as loud conversations, yelling, screaming, sex noise, running, bells, whistles, horns, musical instruments, TVs, stereos, video games, sports activities, televisions,and hard surface flooring.

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