Communal lights with no switches? Any replacement ideas?

We recently moved into a newly converted two condo building. The contractor who did the renovation before the people downstairs and we bought our condos installed an outside light for the front and back doors and lights in the front and back staircase, which are hook up to the communal electricity circuit/meter.... show more We recently moved into a newly converted two condo building. The contractor who did the renovation before the people downstairs and we bought our condos installed an outside light for the front and back doors and lights in the front and back staircase, which are hook up to the communal electricity circuit/meter. There are no switches for any of these lights. The only thing we can influence is a timer in the basement that can be set for a certain lighting period. We are not sure if this was a safety/security requirement for condos or what, but both parties agree that this is annoying. We don’t necessarily need the light on in the staircase all the time when the exterior lights are on, and when someone comes home after the “shutting off time” we currently have set around midnight, there’s no way to switch a light on in the staircase.

So here’s our question: Is there anything we can easily install now that would allow us to turn the lights on and off when we really need them? Are there any substitutes to regular switches or something? The best thing we can think of are pull chain lights that we could install in the staircase. We would extend the timer period to be on all night, which would then allow us to switch the staircase lights on and off at will. The only issue would be that the exterior lights would be on all time. Maybe someone was in the same situation and found a great solution. We just don’t like wasting energy and our money :-).

Thank you!
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