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Homeowner floored to find city bowing to HOA over money-saving home improvement: 'Getting someone to respond is hellacious'

"The city I am in will not approve a permit until they have HOA approval."

“The city I am in will not approve a permit until they have HOA approval."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner's fight to install solar panels reached a standstill when even their city government refused to go against their HOA.

It's not uncommon for HOAs to stand in the way of financially beneficial and eco-friendly upgrades like solar panels. Despite the fact that solar panels save homeowners money on electricity, raise property values, and benefit the environment by producing energy without any air pollution, HOAs often object to the way they look.

According to this homeowner, though, looks shouldn't be a factor this time. 

"Our HOA will categorically deny any type of solar panels installation," they said. "The kicker is, we have a neighbor that actually has panels installed! (Same amount in the rear but our design has more in the side and front. But our house is pointed differently at the street and our roof is blocked by our neighbors from view.)"

Even though the panels would be hidden, the Redditor couldn't get permission from the HOA for the installation — and unfortunately, they discovered the city was taking cues from the association. 

"The city I am in will not approve a permit until they have HOA approval," they said. "I'm trying to get someone in the city to grant me a waiver, but it's local government and getting someone to respond is hellacious … I'm tempted to see if I can get a meeting with the mayor to see if we can get an exception granted."

However, as commenters pointed out, the original poster might not need to go that far. "Is it possible to ask your neighbor how they got theirs installed?" suggested one user. "I can't imagine them not telling you."

"What are the laws in your state and city regarding solar?" asked another commenter. "Some locations an HOA can prevent, some locations an HOA can limit the location, and others have a state law that prevents HOA from interfering at all."

Even where an HOA does have the authority to block solar panel installation, there's hope. HOAs have internal processes for appealing decisions and changing rules, and there are many steps you can take to enact change.

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