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Old 15.12.2020, 21:38
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Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

There are many neighbor complaint threads, but none I found about lighting. So, here goes. A backyard neighbor has been complaining about our motion controlled backyard lights. He claims they shine into his apartment. I tilted the floodlight as far down as possible, but well, itís a floodlight. Heís now harassing my mother in law, the house owner, with a... lawsuit? He says heís a lawyer. My position has been:

-get some curtains
-turn your desk away from the window
-offer to pay for a different lighting setup

Is there something Iím missing? Is it acceptable in Switzerland to threaten 80 year old ladies because you live in a city and donít want to get some blinds? We donít have particularly bright lights or anything. The street lighting is brighter than our lights.

Happy to hear your opinions. Coming from New York, this is a head scratcher!
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Old 15.12.2020, 21:56
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

Why do you have motion controlled lights?

Do they turn on after 10PM?

If so, the neighbour is right, you are wrong, be prepared to lose.

Tom
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Old 15.12.2020, 22:45
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Why do you have motion controlled lights
They are both a security feature (to deter potential burglars) as well as a convenience when you come home, and they automatically start shining as soon as you approach the door. And save energy while there's nobody around.
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Old 15.12.2020, 23:16
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Why do you have motion controlled lights?

Tom
To amuse the neighbourhood cats.
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Old 15.12.2020, 23:49
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

Here's an article in the Tagesanzeiger, from 5th March, 2018.
http://www.darksky.ch/dss/wp-content...r_S.10_cut.pdf
Broadly, one is not allowed to put up lights that bother the neighbours, and lighting must be modified so that it does not disturb.
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Old 16.12.2020, 00:19
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

Why not just change them to be on whenever its dark and not be a flood light. Hard to imagine that could cause distress as its no different to the light coming from your windows. I can understand how a flood light randomly coming on annoys people.

Every evening when it gets dark, About 30 lights come on around my house, garden and driveway. They are mostly 5W LED bulbs behind yellow glass (You can see them light up the whole hillside when taking off from Agno in the evening). Nobody has ever complained. In fact one person remarked how nice it was to have the property lit up when I first moved in after several years of it being empty.
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Old 16.12.2020, 02:45
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Happy to hear your opinions. Coming from New York, this is a head scratcher!
We donít really care what you do in New York, but here we expect you to act like an adult, be considered and try to get along. And in case that does not work, we have laws that broadly state you canít do crap in your property that hinders others enjoying their property.

So sort yourself out and stop causing problems for your mother-in-law.
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Old 16.12.2020, 04:38
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

If you are not able to tilt them further you could shield the light that is going toward your neighbour with something as an inexpensive solution. In the backyard motion activated lights don't work well due to leaves moving with the wind, animals etc. they are best used for parking and entrances. Try redirecting the sensor as well and decrease the throw range. Also floodlights usually have way too many lumens too for night time use imho especially in the backyard.
Maybe post some pictures.
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Old 16.12.2020, 09:10
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

Kanton Bern, right? Some recommendations on exterior lightning https://www.vol.be.ch/vol/de/index/u...euchtende.html

I can already see potential conflicts among the recommendations on lightning and floodlights (no illumination above the horizontal position of the light source) and only illuminate what you intent to illuminate (her backyard, not the neighbor's apartment). Get familiar with the local regulations, take a hint that they go into specifying color temperatures.....so the possibility something is wrong with the floodlight is very high.

The street lightning may be brighter but it may have been there for several decades, so not affected by more recent regulations. But be sure next time street lightning is changed it will comply regulations.

Your position about him closing the blinds, moving his desktop or him paying for other lights is a declaration of war, I don't see why you're surprised about the lawsuit.

Last edited by Axa; 16.12.2020 at 09:24.
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Old 16.12.2020, 09:24
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Broadly, one is not allowed to put up lights that bother the neighbours, and lighting must be modified so that it does not disturb.
The question is whether they really disturb or the complaint is frivolous. I suggest the OP goes to the community offices and asks what the local laws are. Then go to the complaining neighbour and see if you can reach a suitable compromise. And get legal insurance. (Although it's too late now for this dispute).

What's the wattage of the lights? Ours are 60W equivalent. Perfectly sufficient for deterrence, and don't disturb any neighbours.

Issuing a lawsuit, or saying "do something about it or I'll issue a lawsuit" isn't harassment. Being 80 doesn't exempt you from regulations nor getting on with your neighbour. "Oh my neighbour is shining a floodlight into my home that I can read by - but I can't do anything because she's 80".
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Last edited by NotAllThere; 16.12.2020 at 12:15.
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:23
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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We donít really care what you do in New York, but here we expect you to act like an adult, be considered and try to get along. And in case that does not work, we have laws that broadly state you canít do crap in your property that hinders others enjoying their property.

So sort yourself out and stop causing problems for your mother-in-law.
Meanwhile, my neighbour is allowed to chain smoke the entire day and night next to my bedroom window and my asthmatic self can do nothing about it.

OP, I understand it seems a bit strange - things can be quite backwards here. Perhaps come to a negotiation and turn them off at a certain time of night or buy a weaker bulb. Good luck!
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:40
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Meanwhile, my neighbour is allowed to chain smoke the entire day and night next to my bedroom window and my asthmatic self can do nothing about it.
I feel for you! On one side of my flat I don't open the windows as my next door neighbour and the one below me are chain smokers!!! It is really horrible!
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:44
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Meanwhile, my neighbour is allowed to chain smoke the entire day and night next to my bedroom window and my asthmatic self can do nothing about it.
You can always close the window.

Tom
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Old 16.12.2020, 10:50
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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You can always close the window.

Tom

I do as I have other windows but Susie-Q might not have other windows. There is only so long you can smell your own farts before fresh air has to be let in
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Old 16.12.2020, 11:06
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Meanwhile, my neighbour is allowed to chain smoke the entire day and night next to my bedroom window and my asthmatic self can do nothing about it.

Yeah, I hate the double-standards here.

That's why all the laws are needed.

If you politely ask someone for a bit of consideration, you just get shouted at, "I can do this. It's allowed!".

I've never, ever heard anyone local say "I'm sorry that my smoke disturbs you, I'll try and be a bit more considerate."

The problem is that the laws are passed by the locals and they don't seem to mind smoking.
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Old 16.12.2020, 11:18
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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You can always close the window.

Tom
Asthma requires fresh air ... I of course have to close them while they are smoking, but I cannot breathe either way. I have to sleep in the living room during the warmer months.
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Old 16.12.2020, 11:19
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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There are many neighbor complaint threads, but none I found about lighting.
Any law against lights on 24h/24, 7d/7?
Our neighbour took down our Christmas lights
Neighbour's led lights into our home
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Old 16.12.2020, 11:29
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Asthma requires fresh air ... I of course have to close them while they are smoking, but I cannot breathe either way. I have to sleep in the living room during the warmer months.
I donít have asthma but I have a neighbor who thinks he is bob marley incarnation.... burn everything all day long and sing reggae with an awful German accent...

Never seen a guy with 19 years old with glaucoma.... his excuses to light up weed all day long....
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Old 16.12.2020, 12:16
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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Never seen a guy with 19 years old with glaucoma.... his excuses to light up weed all day long....
It's not unknown. Late-juvenile glaucoma has a prevalence of about 0.16% in the general population[1].

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5397891
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Old 16.12.2020, 12:17
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Re: Neighbor complaint about exterior lighting

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You can always close the window.

Tom
Not so much fun in a hot summer. Mind you, worse is when it comes through the apartment blocks ventilation - though this is only in old buildings.
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