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Neighbour ringing our doorbell in the middle of the night

(255 Posts)
applesauce1 Wed 20-Nov-19 23:47:45

Our neighbour has just rung our doorbell at 11:15 at night. It is the third time he has done this.

Back story: We have a motion activated flood light outside our house and a steep drive. He has previously complained that when it comes on, it shines into his bedroom window (despite it being pointed as far down as it goes and definitely not in the direction of his windows). In the summer, the light is always turned off as a neighbourly courtesy. Now it is darker earlier, I’ve turned it back on so I can get our baby safely down our steep drive in the dark when I get home from work. I turn the light off at the fuse box when I get in.
On three occasions (twice last winter and now tonight), I’ve forgotten to turn it off and he has come round to ring our bell. Once he rang the doorbell at 2am. Each time he has done it, he has woken our baby.

Tonight I actually went to the door and was extremely upset with him. I told him that I am trying my very best to remember to turn the light off at night but that he absolutely should not ring our doorbell at night as we have a baby trying to sleep. He started to shout at me about it shining through his window and that he would speak to his solicitor. I said I would call the police and that he should get some proper blinds or curtains.

He does have curtains but they are very raggedy and coming down in places.

I called 111 who offered to come out now as he is being a nuisance neighbour, but I asked if they would be able to come tomorrow instead as it would just further disturb my son.

Am I in the wrong? Should I have just apologised for forgetting to turn our light off? I’m still breastfeeding and up twice a night at least with our baby, so I know how it feels to be sleep deprived and I don’t want to be the cause of that for someone else.

JKScot4 Wed 20-Nov-19 23:50:48

Are you sure it’s not shining in his windows? There’s a house I pass out with the dogs and their light is blinding, far too bright. There are ways to light your driveway, light on the fence/side of drive, have you a OH that can switch off?

OhWellThatsJustGreat Wed 20-Nov-19 23:51:11

He's being an unreasonable arse! Especially if he knows you have a baby. How would he deal if the council put a street lamp out there?

HiJenny35 Wed 20-Nov-19 23:55:19

I don't think having a bring light that is cleary effecting his house is very fair. You can get plenty of lights that light an area using soft white light rathe than bright without being a massive issue.

applesauce1 Wed 20-Nov-19 23:58:35

@JKScot4 his house is set above ours (we’re down a slope) and the light points downwards, so it’s definitely not shining in his direction. It sometimes comes on when it’s very blustery. It’s not particularly bright.
Happy to be told we are being U

IsAStormApproaching Wed 20-Nov-19 23:59:44

I think he is being unreasonable need to be able to see when you bring your child in.
So when you forget to switch the light off once you are home, is there something setting it off a lot?
I don't have an outside light so I don't actually know but maybe you could try a lower watt of bulb ( if they do that)

Ginfordinner Thu 21-Nov-19 00:01:05

Can you put your light on a timer?
TBH I can see both sides here.

Nikhedonia Thu 21-Nov-19 00:03:15

Sorry, I think you are being really rude. You need to remember, not try to remember. Your neighbour has a right to sleep as much as you and your baby do.

Oldfail Thu 21-Nov-19 00:05:38

Have you actually asked if you can go over to his house to see what the complaint is and so if genuine get an idea on how it can be fixed?

We have a house out the back of us which is 2 gardens and a street away, however they have an outside light which shines from their back door between 2 houses straight into our bathroom window.

You would think at that distance it shouldn't be an issue and it is lower than our bathroom but it is so bright that when it's on I dont need to turn the bathroom light on at night.

I cant be bothered to do speak to them as it doesn't really bother me. But it's amazing how a light so far away at a lower angle to our window can have such an affect on us

CallmeAngelina Thu 21-Nov-19 00:07:27

Why is your sleep more important than his?

easyandy101 Thu 21-Nov-19 00:10:58

Is it shining onto a white or bright surface? Or reflecting back off something?

DankGraveGhouls Thu 21-Nov-19 00:12:25

You're being the nuisance neighbour, not him.

Veterinari Thu 21-Nov-19 00:13:38


I doubt he’s getting out of bed, up dressed and schlepping outside to ring your bell for a laugh. If he only bothers you when the light is on then it’s clear that it is significantly disturbing him. Put it on a timer to go off automatically at 9pm or whenever is sensible so that you don’t keep ’forgetting’. It sounds e you value your right to sleep Undisturbed but have no interest in ensuring your neighbour has the same.

ReanimatedSGB Thu 21-Nov-19 00:13:56

It's a little difficult to tell whether your light is more disruptive than you think, or whether this neighbour is an unreasonable bullying prick. There certainly are people who get fixated on stuff neighbours do and won't let go until they have forced the neighbour to obey. As a PP said, can you go round with a friend or family member and see from the neighbour's point of view what actually happens when the light comes on?

applesauce1 Thu 21-Nov-19 00:14:10

I didn’t say that our sleep is more important. At the bottom of OP, I said that I did NOT want to be the cause of someone else being sleep deprived.

I do need to remember. You are right. But out of more 5 years of living here, I’ve forgotten to turn the light off three times. I just feel like he’s unreasonable for ringing the bell so late at night.
I’m going to ask my husband to try and work out a timer for it. Good suggestion.

user1473878824 Thu 21-Nov-19 00:14:33

Tbf OP if you are waking him up I kind of thing he’s not unreasonable to wake you up.

BlackCatSleeping Thu 21-Nov-19 00:15:13

I don’t think he’s complaining for fun. You said you’re happy to be told you are unreasonable but how about you try and fix the issue? He might not be able to afford new curtains.

Veterinari Thu 21-Nov-19 00:15:59

I just feel like he’s unreasonable for ringing the bell so late at night.

What’s his alternative? To lie awake all night with your night blazing in because you expect him to prioritise your comfort over his?
Be reasonable.

Beveren Thu 21-Nov-19 00:16:28

He's rung the bell three times in over a year and you say that makes him being a nuisance neighbour? I'm really sceptical that the police would come out for that.

It doesn't matter if the light is shining in his direction or not, it will still affect him, particularly if it's constantly going on and off every time it picks up a passing animal or even a gust of wind, and it's not up to him to go to the expense of blackout curtains to prevent the nuisance you are causing.

Can't you set a reminder on your phone or something to ensure you turn the light off? Or, as PP have suggested, put it on an automatic timer?

Veterinari Thu 21-Nov-19 00:18:15

I can’t believe that you actually called the police over a problem that you are causing and that you are perfectly able to fix confused

applesauce1 Thu 21-Nov-19 00:18:17

Fair enough. Will get a handyman to install a timer as a matter of urgency. Husband never gets round to doing anything DIY.

Waitinginthewings Thu 21-Nov-19 00:20:31

Get it on a timer. Ringing bell 3 times in a year is not a police matter.

FannyFifer Thu 21-Nov-19 00:21:24

The light going on wld put off intruders so I wld be keeping it on at night. He needs better curtains if he's that bothered.

SeaToSki Thu 21-Nov-19 00:21:55

You can get bulbs that sync to an app on your phone (you do need to have wifi in your house though). You can then set an off timer on the app. Its the easiest thing. You can also then disable the motion detector part of it (use duct tape over the sensor) and just use your phone to turn it on when you park.

TheMidasTouch Thu 21-Nov-19 00:22:46

Do you really think he would have come around complaining at 2 a.m. last winter if the light had not been shining in his bedroom window? I think you may have misjudged the area it actually lights up.

If you don't want your baby's sleep disturbed by him knocking on your door then you need to make sure you don't disturb his sleep with your light. He is as entitled to his sleep as they are.

You should have apologised and need to sort out the angle or timing of the light going off.

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