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Blocking neighbours' second-storey lights

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  • May 23rd, 2021 2:20 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Jun 1, 2018
10 posts
10 upvotes

Blocking neighbours' second-storey lights

A big infill house next to us (in Toronto) is nearly finished. It's double the depth of our home and tonight they turned on the second-storey soffit lights, which are bright enough to light up our whole back yard. It's suddenly like living next to a gas station! We used to like to sit on our deck by candlelight after sunset.

I don't have any expectation the city will go to bat for us as the light is shining perpendicular to our bedroom, not directly into it. Based on how much damage the owner has done to our property while building the house without making any apologies or amends, I don't think he will agree to turn off the lights, though of course I will ask him politely. What I'm hoping is someone else who may have faced this situation has some advice on how we can block the light when it's shining from so high. Thank you for any words of wisdom!
22 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 6, 2005
4030 posts
1501 upvotes
Toronto
This trend of putting potlights in the soffits really needs to die now.

It was kinda cute when it started 10 years ago, with lights strategically placed at the corners or various architectural details on the exterior. Now we've reached a point where people feel the need to place them every 4 feet and on both the first AND second stories of their homes. Not only that, they're starting to put 5000K temperature LED lights!

They're absolutely obnoxious and pisses of your neighbors because you fail to realize that your house is only 4 feet away. So the lights infiltrate bedrooms at night and ruin any kind of landscape lighting of the neighbors' lighting. Why the eff do you need to install them on ALL 4 SIDES OF YOUR HOUSE? Looks like a damn space ship.

Thankgod I don't have neighbors on either side of me who have these lights on their homes. We all back onto protected ravine and appreciate the dark privacy at night from our backyards. There's a couple houses on my street who have them installed only on the front and at specific exterior features of their home, which can look nice. I really feel for you OP. Not sure why I got so triggered reading your post and felt the need to rant.

You can usually tell the type of low-class people that install these lights excessively on their homes. Similar to the people who feel the need to install scripted letters on the front of their house for their house numbers (sometimes even illuminated!!) Or their street name too... So damn tacky!!
Deal Addict
Jul 22, 2009
1565 posts
1120 upvotes
Brampton
Repooc wrote: This trend of putting potlights in the soffits really needs to die now.

It was kinda cute when it started 10 years ago, with lights strategically placed at the corners or various architectural details on the exterior. Now we've reached a point where people feel the need to place them every 4 feet and on both the first AND second stories of their homes. Not only that, they're starting to put 5000K temperature LED lights!

They're absolutely obnoxious and pisses of your neighbors because you fail to realize that your house is only 4 feet away. So the lights infiltrate bedrooms at night and ruin any kind of landscape lighting of the neighbors' lighting. Why the eff do you need to install them on ALL 4 SIDES OF YOUR HOUSE? Looks like a damn space ship.

Thankgod I don't have neighbors on either side of me who have these lights on their homes. We all back onto protected ravine and appreciate the dark privacy at night from our backyards. There's a couple houses on my street who have them installed only on the front and at specific exterior features of their home, which can look nice. I really feel for you OP. Not sure why I got so triggered reading your post and felt the need to rant.

You can usually tell the type of low-class people that install these lights excessively on their homes. Similar to the people who feel the need to install scripted letters on the front of their house for their house numbers (sometimes even illuminated!!) Or their street name too... So damn tacky!!
Oh Yes I call them UFO houses annoying as hell.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 12, 2007
5986 posts
3540 upvotes
Ottawa
Second storey soffit lights are a scourge and almost always hideous and usually highlight poor brickwork. Done well, they can be nice. They are increasingly not done well and often used as tidy substitute for exterior wall-mounted fixtures but, sadly, they often come across as tacky. The brighter and cooler (bluer) they are, the tackier they appear. I hate them. Municipalities are already passing bylaws about them and I suspect that we'll see more of that as time marches on. I believe that Vancouver has a bylaw about nuisance lighting.

To the OP, there's nothing really you can do about it, apart from having a polite conversation with your neighbours about it where you ask for some consideration. If they think it's an architectural detail that looks cool - and they paid big money for that feature - I suspect that they won't be happy if you ask them to never turn them on. But they might agree to you texting them when you want them off and you might agree that they can have them on (regardless of your plans) whenever they are actually in the yard.

I would suggest that you lodge your concern with your city administration and elected representative and you can consider starting an online petition about the problem - your local municipal council won't do anything about this if they don't know that there's an issue and (some) citizens are unhappy.

Good luck.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
17176 posts
19063 upvotes
Oakville
+1, they're ugly, tacky and cheap looking. I think the look come from huge mansions, but people put them on regular houses and it just looks like poverty spec.

They actually are light pollution so hopefully cities ban them on nuisance grounds and light pollution as it affects wildlife.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 19, 2008
6880 posts
2445 upvotes
GTA
Another plus 1, don't understand what architectural details these homeowners think they are highlighting. Cookie cutter suburban homes lit up like there are Bridle Path mansions.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
5986 posts
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Ottawa
engineered wrote: +1, they're ugly, tacky and cheap looking. I think the look come from huge mansions, but people put them on regular houses and it just looks like poverty spec.

They actually are light pollution so hopefully cities ban them on nuisance grounds and light pollution as it affects wildlife.
WalMart chic par excellence
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
5986 posts
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Ottawa
Zamboni wrote: Another plus 1, don't understand what architectural details these homeowners think they are highlighting. Cookie cutter suburban homes lit up like there are Bridle Path mansions.
Upvoted your post because I agree and because Beliveau was my boyhood idol.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 19, 2008
6880 posts
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GTA
CaptSmethwick wrote: Upvoted your post because I agree and because Beliveau was my boyhood idol.
If it wasn't so hot today I would be wearing my "KEEP CALM AND CAREY ON" Habs Hoodie around Toronto Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 17, 2015
1040 posts
1225 upvotes
Canada
OP ask them if there is a separate switch at the back side only. Hope it is not a one switch for all the lights. So they can have lights front and 2 sides. Also spring/summer where we have longer daylight, I dont think they need to turn them on before 9pm-10pm.
Member
Nov 13, 2007
300 posts
66 upvotes
Toronto
Does anyone ever think about anyone else before they either string up LED lights all over their yard, or put in a backyard basketball net or install flood lights? Ever?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2009
1670 posts
322 upvotes
I have one of those crazy neighbors, he has a post with 8 flood lights on them, and his outside light on the house has 4 , it lights up everyone’s backyard, and our city does not have a bylaw by how many lights one can have.
These lights are going 24/7
The neighbor is a bit eccentric, and scared of the dark.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
17176 posts
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Oakville
rotjong wrote: I have one of those crazy neighbors, he has a post with 8 flood lights on them, and his outside light on the house has 4 , it lights up everyone’s backyard, and our city does not have a bylaw by how many lights one can have.
These lights are going 24/7
The neighbor is a bit eccentric, and scared of the dark.
Need some kind of emp gun or Tesla coil to disable them without being seen.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 1, 2018
10 posts
10 upvotes
Thank you all for your replies and sympathy. I spoke to the neighbour on the other side of the McMansion this morning, and she said even with their bedroom shutters closed, light got into their room. Also she has the same problem as we do about not wanting such bright light while sitting outside in the evening.

I'm keeping an eye out for the contractor and the new owner. The owner doesn't speak English, or is maybe shy about it, because he leaves it to the contractor to talk with the neighbours. Once they move in, I don't think it will be easy to communicate with the new neighbours by texting, etc.

I will definitely follow up on CaptSmethwick's suggestion to contact local authorities, though our local councillor, Gary Crawford, seems to be more on the side of developers than long-time taxpayers. He wasn't any help when Toronto Forestry gave the contractor permission to injure our sugar maple tree for the huge excavation. But it's worth a try to see if there is support for banning those intrusive lights.
Deal Addict
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Nov 7, 2016
1990 posts
1002 upvotes
Ontario
Light pollution is just as bad as any other...
·Ï¢årµ§·
Deal Addict
Dec 31, 2007
4690 posts
1198 upvotes
Richmond Hill
I always think of this guy when I see these unfortunate threads.



10m30s mark for exterior view.

Only thing I can think of is for us to write to our municipalities to get light pollution classified the same as noise pollution regulations within the bylaws.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
17176 posts
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Oakville
enwhyRFD wrote: I always think of this guy when I see these unfortunate threads.



10m30s mark for exterior view.

Only thing I can think of is for us to write to our municipalities to get light pollution classified the same as noise pollution regulations within the bylaws.
I guess that's the last straw if they aren't considerate, fight fire with fire until they agree to step down from mutually assured blindness, or the city steps in.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
934 posts
795 upvotes
Toronto
I don't enjoy what to me are annoying outside pot lights, it is a trend and not one likely to completely stop.

I can live with it if it were a warm white, it the the shattering bright WHITE light that assaults the senses...........
Youth is the gift of nature, while age is a work of art.

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