December 23, 2016

‘Let the Sun Shine In’

By James D. York, P.A.

Can your homeowner’s association legally ban solar panels? Though HOA rules can be far-reaching and very specific, this time the answer is “No,” according to Gary M. Singer, Florida attorney and board-certified real estate law expert.

Association rules and restrictions are considered a contract, already in place and voluntarily agreed to by the buyer before a home purchase. Therefore, most rules can be enforced. Generally, if a homeowner violates the HOA agreement, there will be repercussions that can include fines, a summons to court, legal fees, even foreclosure.

However, there is a specific exception for energy efficiency. The homeowner’s right to install energy-efficient add-ons like solar collectors and clotheslines has been protected by legislation that takes precedence over community association rules. The Florida statute 163.04, known as the “Solar Rights Act,” prohibits HOAs from banning solar panels—although they may determine the installation location on the roof, as long as it does not interfere with efficient solar collection.

Mr. Singer suggests that any homeowner who is challenged by their HOA over energy-efficient improvements “gently suggest” that the board check with its attorney—and there should not be any further problem. If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other real estate issue, just give us a call.

 

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York Real Estate Group consists of James, Michael, and Morgan York, Florida Realtors with Downing-Frye Realty. James York is the winner of the prestigious 2014 and 2015 SWFL People’s Choice Realtor Award. The group has over 25 years combined experience and over $275 million in sales transactions.  Visit The York Group website at www.naplesyorkrealestate.com for all current MLS listings of houses for sale in Naples, Marco, Bonita, and Estero. If you have other questions, the York’s invite you to email or call them at JYorkinFL@cs.com or 239-273-6727.