I have a condo with a roof deck (super awesome). The deck is very large, but is right in between two other decks (we share the same dividing walls) of two adjacent condos. The walls are not particularly high; I can look over onto both neighboring decks by simply standing up. I would like to erect wooden poles (fastened by cement into large potted planters) completely within the bounds of own deck to string up lights overhead. During the inspection, my realtor's assistant made a passing comment that something like that may be tricky (in the am-I-allowed-to-do-it sense) as the light from my deck would thus be shining onto the other decks. I double checked the condo documents and no mention of such a restriction is present; it seems ok... but is it ok? I don't know what other provisions/laws/codes I should be checking.

  • 2
    In the age of LED lighting, you are able to throw light exactly where you want to. So there's no reason to throw it anywhere else. Aug 5, 2019 at 22:44
  • @Harper On the other hand, the neighbors might appreciate some "free" lighting. Aug 5, 2019 at 22:52
  • @manassehkatz oth they may not - we had a street lamp outside our bedroom window - no shading was possible on the lamp but very goid curtains worked...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 6, 2019 at 4:40

2 Answers 2


IANACO (I am not a condo owner)

This seems like something that won't be in the rules because no one thought it important. Probably no rule about using your deck for landing starship shuttles either. Same idea.

That said. Simple courtesy requires that you not disturb the other owners. So...

A: Wire it up with a 3 way switch with a switch on each neighbor's fence. This would allow them to turn it off if they have a stargazing party and you forgot to turn the lights off.

B: Get/Make lamp shades that reflect the light that would otherwise go onto your neighbours place. Boundary lights have a triangle (actually a parabola shape) that is white on your side, some innocuous colour on your neighbors side that reflects light back onto your land. Lights inside the boundary wear a cone to direct the light in a cone that doesn't go over the fence.

Depending on how fractious your condo association is, you may want to ask first. Sketch out what you propose to do and ask your two neighbours if this is a problem.

As a neighbor I would usually be more concerned about noise than about light.


Check with your Condo Association Board. They probably have a committee that reviews modifications to the individual units. I wanted to install flood lights in the back, the board approved it but the neighbors in back of me had to sign an "ok" form.

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