Trespass vs nuisance

Property owners in Ohio should be aware of the terms trespass and nuisance, as they both relate to protected interests in regard to the possession, enjoyment and use of land. A person who commits either of these acts may be liable in court whether harm was caused or not.

According to Harvard, trespassing occurs when one enters onto another’s property unauthorized. This entrance can be by a person or object, and it is considered to be trespassing even if it is an unintentional act. In regard to intentional trespass, the party is considered liable even if no harm was caused as a result of the action. In contrast, unintentional trespass, such as that which occurs from negligent or reckless conduct, only leads to liability if harm results from the intrusion.

FindLaw shares that nuisance occurs when a neighboring owner is acting in a way that is bothersome to either the neighbors or the public, but there is no intrusion onto the property. When this occurs, the party causing the nuisance can be sued in order to limit or control land use. A nuisance can be either private or public. Private typically consists of a single plaintiff bringing action due to a loss of use of the property, while a public nuisance is brought upon when the owner’s actions affect the comfort, safety, health or welfare of the general public.

In terms of restitution, a trespass conviction can result in jail time and/or fines, while a nuisance conviction generally requires specific actions to be taken by the defendant to minimize negative effects of its actions. Monetary penalties and imprisonment are rare in cases of nuisance.