Do I Have Any Rights to the Air Above My Property or the Surface Below?
Print this article
Font Size
How to Make It All Better
View ArticleView Article Comments
So you own a piece of property, and perhaps built a home on it. What happens now that your rights to use your property (as illustrated in the previous sections) have been interfered with by someone else? Here, we’ll examine the different remedies that you have as a landowner.

Invasion of Tangible Property on Your Land

First, if a tangible physical object invades your land (e.g. your neighbor’s son hits a baseball onto the surface of your property), this interferes with your right to exclusively possess your land. In such a situation, you could sue your neighbor for trespass to property, although it is highly unlikely that you would want to sue your neighbors for playing a game of baseball, absent any actual damage to your property.

Invasion of Intangible Property on Your Land

Next, if your land was invaded by something intangible, such as excessive noise from an aircraft, and this noise is so significant that it unreasonably interferes with your right as a landowner to use or enjoy your property, you could bring an action against the wrongdoer called a private nuisance.

Damages You’re Entitled To

So what exactly will you get as the landowner for bringing either one of these lawsuits? Well, here it depends on what relief you request. If you ask for and receive damages, then the court is likely going to award you money equal to the fair market value of that part of your property that was damaged, at the time the damage was caused (e.g. the cost of your broken window that resulted from your neighbor’s son hitting a baseball into your yard). On the other hand, with regard to an action for nuisance, the court would likely award an injunction, which is just a fancy way of saying that they will make the wrongdoer stop whatever it is that is preventing you from peacefully using and enjoying your property (e.g. the court will order the airplane to stop flying so low over your property in order to reduce the level of noise).

Next, we’ll wrap up the article with a few main points to keep in mind.

Related Legal Words