Q&As

Can food smells from cooking constitute a nuisance in the context of residential tenants?

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Published on LexisPSL on 31/08/2017

The following Environment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can food smells from cooking constitute a nuisance in the context of residential tenants?
  • Private nuisance
  • Who can make a claim?
  • Who can be sued?
  • Reasonableness
  • The nature, duration and intensity of the nuisance

Can food smells from cooking constitute a nuisance in the context of residential tenants?

Private nuisance

Private nuisance normally involves interference with the claimant’s enjoyment of their land, usually by noise, smell or by the causing of actual physical damage to their property. In such cases the claimant can bring a civil claim seeking an injunction and/or damages and/or abatement, as appropriate. See Practice note: Neighbour disputes—noise and nuisance.

In Bone v Seale a pig-farmer was held liable for ‘constant malodorous air which frequently caused nausea’.

Where the defendant has not caused the nuisance, but merely permitted it to continue, then proof of negligence is required. Liability only arises where the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to abate the nuisance once it knew or ought to have known about it. See Willis v Derwentside District Council.

Who can make a claim?

In Hunter v Canary Wharf, the House of Lords held that the right to sue in private nuisance can only be exercised by those with rights to the land affected, which will usually be the freeholder or tenants in possession. The claimant

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