Meaning: So use your own property as not to injure your neighbour's.
The principle of this maxim applies to the public, and to public rights, as well as to individuals and to individual rights, and in such a manner as that when any such right is violated whereby damage is sustained, a right of action arises. The maxim may be briefly illustrated by the following, out of many similar instances, viz. : the obstruction of ancient lights ; the stopping, by obstruction or diversion, on your own land, of a flow of water on to your neighbour's ; the erection of public works, brick-kilns, etc, emitting large quantities of smoke, offensive smells, etc, near to a private dwelling-house ; all cases of nuisance, negligence, etc.
In an action for building a pig-sty and keeping pigs in it, so near to the plaintiff's house as that the smell from them was offensive to the plaintiff and the inmates of his house, and a nuisance ; it was held that the action was well maintainable for the injury done to the plaintiff's house by the erection of the sty and keeping pigs, whereby the air entering the plaintiff's house was infected and corrupted. And this was conceded upon the principle that houses are necessary for the habitation of man, and the chief object of a house is that it should be fit for habitation, and anything depriving it of that necessary quality is an injury to the house and actionable ; as, infecting the air, stopping up wholesome air, shutting out the light, etc.
The maxim applies as well to a right, as to property ; as, where injury is done to one by the negligent use by another of his property. Upon this principle, the lessee and occupier of refreshment-rooms at a railway station, and of a cellar underneath, who employed a coal dealer to put coals into the cellar, and who, in so doing, left open a trap door in the platform of the station, over which passengers had to go on their way out, and through which the plaintiff, a passenger, fell and was injured, was held liable in damages for the injury sustained by such passenger ; it being his obvious duty to use the trap door in such a manner as not necessarily to create such danger, but to use reasonable precautions to see that there was no injury to travellers using the platform.
Where one in exercise of his private rights over his own property, on a portion of his own land, does what interferes with his neighbour's right to the enjoyment of pure air, and causes injury to his neighbour's property, which might be avoided by the acts complained of being done on other part of his own property, a court of equity will interfere, by injunction, to prevent a continuation of such acts. As, where the defendant, having entered into a contract with Government for the supply of a large quantity of bricks, obtained a lease of a tract of land, and began brick-burning operations, by constructing a line of kilns or clamps at a distance of about 340 yards south of the plaintiff's mansion house, and thirty from the boundary fence ; the court restrained the defendant, by injunction, from lighting or firing any kilns within a distance of 650 yards from the plaintiff's house.
The maxim, “Aedificare In Tuo Proprio Solo Non Licet Quod Alteri Noceat”; It is not lawful to build upon your own land to the injury of another, is also applicable here.