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My neighbor has an energy efficient low e window. They have had it for about 10 years, but over time it has slowly been causing damage (melting) our vinyl siding. This article (Glare from energy-efficient windows can melt siding, vehicles) details the way the damage occurs. Pictured below is an example of said damage which is very similar to mine.

Melting siding

My neighbor is unwilling to talk about it, despite multiple attempts to speak with them. I have tried to explain the situation to them, and have offered to cover 100% of the expenses to simply add a full screen (currently there is a half screen, but I believe adding a full screen would help alleviate the issue), but they refuse to speak to me about it, and deny that their window does any kind of damage. I'm not seeking monetary damages necessarily, I simply want to stop further damage from occurring.

What legal recourse do I have? This is in the state of Maryland.

  • Or change to a siding that won't melt like wood or brick. – ratchet freak Oct 7 '15 at 16:48
  • You could probably sue them for causing a nuisance, but I don't know specifics to answer this question – Viktor Oct 7 '15 at 18:11
  • Well, suing them for damages would probably cause them to do something about it. – Andy Oct 8 '15 at 0:11
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    This seems straightforward: they are damaging your property and if they do not respond to your requests, sue them for damages. Have a lawyer write them a nasty letter, go to your HOA, whatever. This is no different than having a gutter dump excess rainwater on the side of your house. Or get even? A few well-positioned mirrors might be able to melt the flag to your neighbor's mailbox. Bonus points if you put the mirrors over the areas where the vinyl siding is getting damaged. (Aluminum foil might be cheaper, just make sure to use the shiny side) – Patrick87 Oct 8 '15 at 14:46
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I do not believe you have a remedy. The legal theory upon which a lawsuit or legal right would be based is that the windows constitute a "private nuisance". In Maryland, in a case involving an alleged light related nuisance, a recent appellate court decision set forth the legal standard an reviewed its application in the case of a drive in theater:

A finding of private nuisance requires a two-part analysis: (1) viewing the defendant's activity, was the interference unreasonable and substantial? and (2) viewing the plaintiff's alleged harm, was the inconvenience or harm caused by the interference objectively reasonable?

First, the court found that Bengies failed to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Royal Farms' use of its lights at nighttime was unreasonable and substantial:

The Royal Farms' lighting is not aimed or directed or oriented towards the drive-in.... There is simply no reasoned or rational basis to conclude that these very typical and ordinary commercial lights, employed lawfully by a business on the far side of the road from the drive-in could conceivably have constituted the type of substantial and unreasonable interference with the operation of the drive-in required by Maryland Law before a fact-finder can conclude that there is nuisance.

Blue Ink, Ltd. v. Two Farms, Inc., 96 A.3d 810, 821 (Md. Spec. App. 2014). Cf. Brozynski v. Kerney, 2006 WL 2160841, at *2 (Tex. App.--Waco Aug. 2, 2006) (glare from all night use of very bright Christmas lights did not, as a matter of law, constitute a private nuisance, but the suit was not so devoid of an argument for a change in the law that it was sanctionable as frivolous without evidence of an intent to harass by bringing the suit).

An energy efficient window would generally constitute the same kind of "typical and ordinary" building material "employed lawfully" (and, indeed, sometimes required by building codes).

Most jurisdictions would not recognize window glare as a "nuisance" and would consider the melting of your siding to be ordinary wear and tear that you must bear and replace from time to time.

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  • The issue presented is what constitutes a "nuisance" under the law. A nuisance is more than mere causation. – ohwilleke Sep 10 at 15:48

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