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Neighbor Law

A guide discussing issues that may arise between neighbors on topics such as fencing, trees and noise.

 Noise & Nuisances


Nuisances

Nuisance is a common term used to refer a condition that may cause someone, often a neighbor, to feel inconvenienced or annoyed. Nuisances can be either public (affecting the general public) or private (affecting a specific person).

Public nuisances are regulated at both the state and local level. A private nuisance often requires filing a lawsuit if the parties cannot resolve the matter on their own.

Below you will find references to areas of Texas law that govern nuisances. The list of laws we provide on this page is not exhaustive as there are numerous state related to nuisances. The list we have created below is laws that we feel citizens may run into more frequently in their daily lives. Please contact the library if you need help locating any additional laws on nuisances.

If you find these statutes difficult to understand, please see the "Understanding the Law" resources below for a "plain English" explanation of these laws.

Texas Law

In addition to state law, cities and counties may have local laws related to nuisances within their area. See our Municipal Laws and Ordinances page for assistance locating your local city laws.

Understanding the Law

Noise

Noise is a common complaint in neighborhoods. Texas law gives cities the ability to create local laws regulating noise. Counties, however, do not have the same ability and must rely on state criminal law to govern noise outside city limits. 

In addition to these laws, property owners' associations may have rules within their community related to noise.

See the resources below for more information.

Covenant of "Quiet Enjoyment"

Tenants also have a right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their rental property. This right is known as an implied “covenant,” or promise, under the law. While Texas does not have a specific state statute, there have been court cases over the years that address this topic. In addition, a written lease may also contain a clause guaranteeing this right during the tenant's lease term

This covenant prevents a landlord from disturbing their tenants. It also makes the landlord responsible for other tenants who create disturbances. It does not, however, make a landlord responsible for disturbances by strangers or people who do not also rent from them.

If your landlord's actions or inaction regarding other tenants is disturbing you in your rental, you may have the right to relief. A lawyer can advise you about how to proceed and what you might be entitled to. Our Legal Help page can help you find a lawyer or connect you with legal aid options.

See the resources below for more information.

Attractive Nuisance

Attractive nuisance is a legal doctrine intended to protect children who are too young to understand the dangers presented by manmade objects or conditions. If an unaccompanied child is trespassing on land and is injured due to these conditions, a landowner could be found liable if they did not take reasonable steps to eliminate the danger or otherwise protect children.

See the resources below for more information. 

Who Can I Contact?

For complaints related to noise, contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

All other nuisance complaints can be filed with your local code enforcement or public health department. If your area of the state does not have a local agency that can investigate, complaints related to accumulated rubbish, abandoned property, tires, mosquitoes, high weeds, and other unsanitary conditions may be filed with the Texas Department of State Health Services. Information on how to contact their office to file a complaint can be found at the link below.

Please note that the Department cannot investigate noise complaints.

E-books at the Texas State Law Library

You can borrow the e-books below with your library account. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account online! Learn more about how to register online.

Books at the Texas State Law Library

These print books are not available online. They are available at the Texas State Law Library in Austin. If you can't visit the library in person, these books might be available at a law library near you or a public library near you.

See Volume 18, Chapter 280 for a discussion on issues involving adjoining landowners.

See Volume 18, Chapter 281 for a discussion on easements.

See Volume 19A, Chapter 311 for a discussion on nuisances.