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To block sun light, I taped aluminum foil and garbage bags to window. then condo board lawyer mailed me warning letter. They violated condo's bylaws and she ordered me to take them down.

Without prior written consent of our condo board, you cannot:

  1. decorate or paint any outside area, exterior surface or exterior door.
  1. change the color of any exterior glass, window, door or screen of any dwelling unit. The window side of all drapes, blinds or other window coverings shall be white or off white in color.

Lawyer wrote foil or bags cannot be in front of, or touch, blinds or window. But I can put up coverings behind red line in picture. But how can I set up them at red line? Bag or foil can't stick to ceiling or carpet!

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Condo board refused my request and wrote that if they let everybody cover their windows with bags or foil, condo will look ugly and look like it's still under construction!

Pic below is my blinds. I don't have curtain rods. I can't hang curtains. I got allergies. I DON'T want sleep mask, tent, hat to cover eyes or put pillow over my head. I lost my job. I don't have money to hire professionals or lawyers.

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    Sell or sublet, move to a basement or other location with fewer windows. Windows are expensive, architecturally speaking - if you don't want them, then selecting a place without them or with fewer of them should save quite a bit of money. – Ecnerwal Oct 28 '20 at 0:11
  • @Ecnerwal this doesn't answer my question. it's probably sefish to move or view new homes with covid. – NNOX Apps Oct 28 '20 at 2:57
  • If you can't get sleep because of light streaming into your window, that has a far more immediate effect on your health far more than any infection you might get will. Go find a new place to live if none of these suggestions work for you. – FreeMan Oct 28 '20 at 11:31
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I agree those window coverings are wholly inadequate for keeping out light. They're the "cheap, default" window coverings provided by most condo associations. You're expected to upgrade if you own the place.

Normal upgrades include heavier curtains which do block the light. Note that most quality curtains have a "curtain liner" on the backside. These are typically white or off-white, even if your side of the curtain is red, blue, black or whatever. It might even be a variation on the blinds you do have, with the interior side black instead of white.

So they certainly don't mean you can't have window treatments that are non-white on the interior side. They mean if you're going to put up trailer-trash third world literally garbage up to block light, you need to stand it off from the proper window treatments so you don't mess up their aesthetic.

You live there because you like it, because it's nice, right? Well, it didn't get nice by itself. It's nice because the builder, and the condo association, and the residents, work pretty hard to keep it nice.

"Nice" has other implications, like higher class occupants and less crime.

If you really mean to say "nice" is not important to you, then you're wasting capital by tying it up in a property whose major (costly) feature is being "nice". Sell it and get something that's a better fit.

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  • @Ecnerwal it's probably sefish to move or view new homes with covid. – NNOX Apps Oct 28 '20 at 2:58
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Build 2x2 a wooden frame that matches the red line area. Inside the frame, staple cardboard to cover the opening, then put foil on the cardboard to block the light. A couple of screws to hold up the frame against the wall or ceiling should be fine. So from the outside, all they see are the blinds, they need not know what you have done inside.

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The lawyer's interpretation is just that, an interpretation.

You should follow the letter of the association bylaws (BTW, you and/or the owner are a member of that association) and forget about the lawyer.

If the bylaws actually say what you quoted:

... The window side of all drapes, blinds or other window coverings shall be white or off white in color.

You could easily fasten black-out fabric (which is available in white and off-white) across the window opening without changing "the color of any exterior glass, window, door or screen".

The lawyer is posturing; actual interpretation occurs when an administrative law judge or jury interprets it. I work rotating shifts; how dare they mess with your ability to sleep.

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  • They're not messing with OP's ability to sleep (I, too, have worked nightshifts btw). They are saying that if OP wants to block out light, they need to do it in a manner that doesn't make the building look ugly from the outside. This is perfectly reasonable. – SiHa Oct 28 '20 at 12:51
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My grandson when visiting our home needed total darkness to stay asleep in the early morning; if he wakes up early he is a "BEAR". Grandma does not like cranky children. The light from the slits between the slats of the vertical blinds was enough light to wake him. My fix was to install horizontal blinds over the vertical blinds which allowed almost no light to pass through both sets of blinds. Another option would be to get a white board to fit the window which you could put in at night and remove in the day time.

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I have to agree that foil and bags would be unsightly, and I'm not surprised somebody would complain loudly enough to force the condo board to act. If you want to bend the rules you'll have best success when you bend them only gently.. or very carefully. ;-)

It seems the way out, based on the lawyer quotes, is to create "other window coverings" which are "white or off white in color" on the side facing outward, while blocking ingress of light to your room.

Perhaps you'd meet the "letter of the law" by first hanging white garbage bags, then covering them on the interior side with your black bags and foil! Keep in mind that you've accidentally offended the visual sensitivity of one or more neighbors and they'll be watching you closely. You'll do well to go a little higher-class than taped-up plastic.

What about making faux vertical blinds? White paper, such as butcher paper, could be painted or colored with chalk, coals, etc so that it has faint vertical stripes of shadowing. From a distance it could resemble closed vertical blinds. With this applied inside the glass you'd be free to apply foil, black plastic, or whatever layer you like on the interior-facing side.

If you'll prefer to leave the existing coverings as they are and do something else on the interior side of them the sky is the limit. With no hardware to hang things by rigid materials may be your only option. Something thin like luan plywood, dark brown hardboard, or foil-faced foam insulation board could work.

If you add hooks, rods, or other hardware to the ceiling and walls the options expand a lot. You might even be able to use removable adhesive hooks for some of the job ("Command" brand or similar). With hanging hardware in place you could try heavy fabrics like bed sheets or quilts. These could be had from a second-hand store to keep the cost low.

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