My neighbor blasts music at all hours. Is there anything I can do to make him stop?

Every property owner is entitled to the right of enjoyment and exclusive use of his or her property and may do with it what he or she pleases. However, concurrent with this right is the obligation to use the property with respect to the health, safety, and enjoyment of others’ use of their own properties. This means you must use reasonable, ordinary care to protect from injuring your neighbor’s exclusive use and enjoyment of his property. Something that causes a substantial and unreasonable interference with the private use and enjoyment of one’s land is called a private nuisance. Also, anything done willfully or maliciously to annoy may be considered a nuisance. Things such as unpleasant odors, smoke, debris, vibrations, irregular fences, dogs, and noises have all been found to be nuisances if they seriously interfered with another’s use of property from the viewpoint of an “ordinary and reasonable person.”  

If you can prove that your neighbor’s music makes living on and enjoying your property nearly impossible, you may be able to sue in court for money damages and/or an injunction. An injunction is basically a restraining order issued by the court against the particular nuisance. However, a faster, cheaper, and sometimes more effective alternative is to talk to the neighbor first. Perhaps he doesn’t realize how loud his music is or how much it annoys you. Just talking to him as a concerned neighbor may encourage him to act more considerately and make for a more positive neighbor relationship than taking him to court would.  

For more information, see: Medford v. Levy, 31 W. Va. 649 (1888); Harless v. Workman, 145 W. Va. 266, 114 S.E.2d 548 (1960); Hendricks v. Stalnaker, 181 W. Va. 31, 380 S.E.2d 198 (1989); Booker v. Foose, 216 W. Va. 727 (2005); 14A Michie’s Jurisprudence Nuisances §§ 3-13 (2007); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 821D (1979); Doyle, D., Smith, D., Ferrise, A., Real Property: Landowners’ Rights and Responsibilities in West Virginia, (last visited June 15, 2015); Jordan, Cora, Neighbor Law: Fences, Trees, Boundaries & Noise, Chapter 2 (4th ed. 2002); Warda, Mark, Neighbor vs. Neighbor, 21-23 (2nd ed. 1999).