Public Health Nuisance
Determining a Public Health Nuisance
A home or property potentially affecting the health and safety of the public could be considered a public health nuisance. The following questions can be used to determine whether a situation qualifies as such.
Please note that this is not a legal judgment; it is a professional judgment, based on public health principles and is normally made by a public health professional. While the answers to the following questions do not provide hard and fast answers to all problems, they may be used as a guide in making professional judgments about nuisance complaints.
Does the Condition Affect the "Public?"
This question is intended to help determine whether something is either a private or a public nuisance. If a problem affects even only one individual/household, it might be reasonable to expect that other public will also be affected. To answer this, please assess the following:
- Is the nuisance not contained to one individual or household?
- Could the nuisance spread to neighboring individuals or households?
- Could the individual(s) spread the nuisance in the community?
If the answer is yes, go to the next question.
Does the Condition Affect "Health?"
This question is intended to help determine whether the problem is affecting health. To answer this, please assess the following:
- Is there a real or potential health risk?
- Can the condition cause or be expected to cause transmission of disease?
- Does the condition cause or is there a potential for the condition to cause trauma or injury to the public?
- Does the condition constitute or is there a potential for the condition to constitute an exposure to hazardous elements or substances that could adversely affect the health of the public?
- Is the subject of the complaint an unsafe or potentially unsafe structural or environmental condition?
If any of the answers are yes, continue to investigate and contact the Public Health Division.
The Minnesota Public Health Nuisance Handbook website has more information on the matter.