Mutual Rights, Duties, and Liabilities of Adjoining Landowners

Adjoining land owners carry certain mutual rights, duties and liabilities.  A land owner is expected to use their property reasonably without injuring the rights of the adjoining land owner[i].  The enjoyment should not unreasonably interfere or disturb the rights of adjoining landholders or create a private nuisance[ii].  Thus, a land owner can use his/her property according to his/her will upon the condition that such use will not injure any adjoining landowner.

A land owner is relieved from liability for injuries caused to an adjoining owner if the land owner makes a “reasonable use” of his/her property. However, the rule which allows a person to use his/her own property in such a manner to cause injury to another’s property without any liability will be narrowly limited and carefully defined[iii].

A landowner’s use of his/her property becomes unreasonable and unlawful if it constitutes an appropriation of the adjoining land and if it deprives the reasonable enjoyment of the adjoining owner of his/her property to a material degree[iv].

If the acts of a landowner are within his/her legal rights, the motives that compel him/her to do certain things on his/her own land is immaterial[v].  At the same time, a landowner does not have the right to relieve his/her own property of an adverse condition by causing a similar condition on the land of a neighbor.

All property owned and used are subjected to the laws of the land[vi].

[i] Reaver v. Martin Theatres of Florida, Inc., 52 So. 2d 682 (Fla. 1951)

[ii] Abbinett v. Fox, 103 N.M. 80 (N.M. Ct. App. 1985)

[iii] Sussex Land & Live Stock Co. v. Midwest Refining Co, 294 F. 597 (8th Cir. Wyo. 1923)

[iv] Brownsey v. General Printing Ink Corp., 118 N.J.L. 505 (Sup. Ct. 1937)

[v] Paola Lodge I. O. O. F. v. Bank of Knob Noster, 238 Mo. App. 96 (Mo. Ct. App. 1943)

[vi] Cason v. Florida Power Co., 74 Fla. 1 (Fla. 1917)


Inside Mutual Rights, Duties, and Liabilities of Adjoining Landowners