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Condo owner left in the dark seeks help with outdoor lighting

Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: I have lived in the same 10-unit condo for over 20 years. It consists of several two- to four-unit buildings grouped together. The buildings surround a shared parking area. Some units face the parking area, while others don’t.

Many owners that face the parking area leave their garage light on to illuminate the parking area. Without these lights the area is extremely dark. One owner does not turn his light on, and that area is quite dark. I have fallen several times on ice in that area and even hurt myself once.

The homeowners association and I have asked all owners to turn on the garage light at dusk or when they come home. I have asked the board to put up sensor lights and have even offered to pay for them, but they are resistant to doing that. I’ve told them that the association could get sued and that we could all be liable.

I’m older and use a cane to get around. I’m afraid, one of these days, I’m going to fall and severely injure myself. What should I do?

A: These days, LED light bulbs consume a fraction of the electricity of their incandescent predecessors. With those lower costs, we’d hope that your neighbors would do something to keep the parking area well lit. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case.

You should ask if the association would be willing to install some rechargeable solar lights on the grass next to the parking lot walkway. Another option would be to see if any of your neighbors that face that area would be willing to install an additional light that would give you some illumination along your path.

When it comes to lighting, there are quite a few options at a wide range of prices. If any of these options work for you and your community, it’s a win-win for everyone. Start by finding a few options, exploring how they could be implemented, and then work to gain the support of your neighbors.

We get it. Living in an association can be frustrating. If you come up with a number of options, you might find either the board or one of your neighbors willing to work with you to solve the problem.

 

Unfortunately if you can’t get anybody to go along with any of your ideas, then buy a portable flashlight (or use the one on your cellphone) to illuminate the path to your home. There are plenty of options, everything from flashlights to lights that can attach to your clothing.

While you might not be able to fix the lighting issue for the association, at least you’ll be able to safely navigate from the car to your front door.

Finally, you might wonder how you can force the association to take up the issue. Typically, confrontation isn’t the best way to get something done in an association. You live in a small community, and these people are your neighbors. You don’t want to antagonize them and then have to see them day in and day out.

Try to solve this issue amicably instead, either by proposing other solutions to them they might not have considered or by taking a few simple steps to keep yourself safe.

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(Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask” (4th Edition). She is also the CEO of Best Money Moves, a financial wellness technology company. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact Ilyce and Sam through her website, ThinkGlink.com.)

©2024 Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


 

 

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