Plenty of us live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, and while they are meant to organize, protect, and maintain community areas, they can, unfortunately, be counterproductive for the environment.
One Redditor from Indianapolis, Indiana, attempted to install energy-saving solar panels on their home but found themselves up against the HOA. Their goal was to place 33 solar panels in total on both the front and back of the home’s roof.
The Redditor’s HOA would allow the solar panels only on the back side of the house. Their reasoning behind the restriction was that they wanted “to keep the facades uniform looking.”
This doesn’t just happen in Indiana, either. Solar panels can reduce energy costs — saving the homeowner up to $1,500 a year — but for aesthetic reasons, HOAs all over the country have tried to deny installation.
“Solar panels are legal everywhere in the United States,” Palmetto outlines, yet some HOAs continue to try to prevent their installation despite the fact that they can raise property values.
Another Redditor commiserated with OP, stating, “I live in Illinois, where the state doesn’t allow HOAs to deny solar installations, but my HOA has denied my application three times, and currently doesn’t give a reason.”
“I really don’t want to drag this out any more than it has to,” the OP further stated, “… but I do want to be assertive.”
Solar energy is just one of the issues that homeowners are fighting for in their communities. Another environmental situation that HOAs are trying to control in the name of uniformity is the movement of rewilded yards in place of manicured lawns.
A couple in Maryland told WUSA9 that their HOA said they were breaking HOA standard lawn care rules by having a natural space in their yard. They stated, “People say that it brings down property values. But what we found out is that a lot of people are looking for yards like this with native plants and environmentally friendly landscaping.” This couple stood their ground and won.
The hope is that HOAs everywhere eventually allow money-saving and environmentally friendly changes like solar energy and natural lawns, no questions asked. Until then, if you are up against a difficult HOA, there are ways to work with them to enact change.
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