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New bill could strip HOAs of their power to restrict money-saving home improvements: 'These provisions are critical'

"I stand in strong support of any legislation that strips any amount of power away from my HOA."

“I stand in strong support of any legislation that strips any amount of power away from my HOA.”

Photo Credit: iStock

Michigan residents on Reddit were optimistic when they heard about a new bill in their home state designed to limit the power of HOAs and allow money-saving, eco-friendly home upgrades.

Michigan House Bill 5028, also called the Homeowners' Energy Policy Act, was introduced to the House of Representatives in September 2023. As MLive reports, it would prohibit HOAs from stopping a range of home improvements that increase energy efficiency, including solar panels, clotheslines, heat pumps, reflective roofing, and energy-efficient building materials.

The law also covers other money-saving and eco-friendly equipment like rain barrels and EV charging stations, MLive reports.

All of these renovations save homeowners money, either by generating power or reducing the amount of power and other utilities they use.

The renovations also protect the environment, since electricity generated from fuel sources like coal is a major source of pollution. Each year, coal use puts more than 16 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Statista — and energy-efficient homes can help lower that figure.

However, HOAs tend not to prioritize savings and environmental benefits. Instead, they worry about the look of the neighborhood. Residents who want to install equipment such as solar panels often encounter resistance.

"HOAs are in that weird space of being a pseudo-government, but without the accountability mechanisms of actual local government," said one commenter on Reddit. "When they work well, they function like a neighborhood government that makes it easier to coordinate, but they are often overbearing with pointless rules."

HB 5028 seeks to curb those rules and grant budget-conscious and eco-friendly homeowners the freedom to do what they want with their property. "These provisions are critical for homeowners," said Grace Michienzi, senior policy director of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, during her testimony in support of the legislation. "Over 1.4 million Michiganders live in a community association, which should never prevent a homeowner from being able to make improvements to their home to lower their household costs."

Redditors agreed. "I stand in strong support of any legislation that strips any amount of power away from my HOA," said one user.

"I think we should all have solar panels," said another user. "And I love the smell of sheets when they've been hung on the clothes lines."

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