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Lawmakers block HOAs from overstepping and preventing certain property upgrades: ‘HOAs are now restricted on the limits they can place’

“Folks bought into these HOAs knowing that there were certain rules and regulations and there are opportunities to change them.”

"Folks bought into these HOAs knowing that there were certain rules and regulations and there are opportunities to change them."

Photo Credit: iStock

Many people have found themselves in the crosshairs of their homeowners associations after advocating for a common money-saving upgrade that also reduces harmful pollution.

One seemingly under-the-radar bill could help prevent such disputes in Minnesota.

Logan O’Grady (@logan_ogrady), the executive director of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA), recently discussed the exciting news on X, formerly known as Twitter, after one person called into a radio show to ask about HOAs limiting solar panels.

“Luckily, @Mn_SEIA worked on that last session with members @SolarNeighbors! MN HOA’s are now restricted on the limits they can place on #Solar!” O’Grady tweeted.

The bill that restricted Minnesota HOAs from denying certain solar panel installations was sponsored by Rep. Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger (DFL-Woodbury), who pointed out last February that 27 other states already had similar laws in place. 

“About one in four Minnesotans live in one of the state’s more than 7,700 homeowners associations … Many of these Minnesotans want the opportunity to improve their homes and lower their energy bills,” Hemmingsen-Jaeger said in a statement published by the official website of the state’s House of Representatives. 

The bill ultimately went into effect in July, and according to nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, it prevents HOAs from imposing restrictions that “raise your cost of installing solar by more than $1,000 or reduce your system’s production by more than 10%.”

Prior to its implementation, however, Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent) raised concerns about how the proposal would affect the ability of HOAs to govern effectively. He highlighted how many people have worked with the organizations or challenged their systems to implement meaningful adjustments

“Folks bought into these HOAs knowing that there were certain rules and regulations and there are opportunities to change them,” he said in a statement on the government website. 

Indeed, many homeowners have made eco-friendly adjustments after petitioning their HOAs or working around their regulations. 

One person had their native garden certified as a wildlife sanctuary to prevent their HOA from giving them issues about their pollinator-friendly yard, while another got their organization to reverse their stance on solar panels. 

Nonetheless, it seems as though having an increased level of protection to make property-value-raising improvements is something many will celebrate. 

“I was working with one homeowner whose estimated savings over 25 years was $50,000. But he was blocked from going solar by his HOA,” Solar United Neighbors state director Bobby King shared in a February 2023 statement on the Minnesota government website. 

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