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Homeowner receives cease-and-desist letter from HOA after adding solar panels: ‘Should be a piece of cake for your lawyer’

“If you filled out an ACC application, submitted it, and didn’t violate any of the restrictions … the board can NOT deny your application.”

"If you filled out an ACC application, submitted it, and didn't violate any of the restrictions ... the board can NOT deny your application."

Photo Credit: iStock

One Texas homeowner was blindsided by a demand from their HOA to remove a solar panel setup they’d already gotten approval to install.

“Our contractors have just completed our solar panel array,” they explained in a r/HOA post. “We followed our HOA’s [Architectural Control Committee] process and the installer submitted the application.”

That was an important step since HOAs often try to block solar panels from being installed. They’re usually worried about the appearance of the panels — even though they save homeowners money and provide non-polluting electricity.

Despite turning in the paperwork, this homeowner had to wait much longer than expected for an answer. 

“After two months with no response from the HOA we reached out to the management company,” they said. “We were informed via email on June 24 from the MC that the application was approved [June 4].”

With that approval given to them in writing, the homeowner went ahead with the installation. 

“We chose to go with [a] ground mount because roof panels would have to be mounted on the front of the house and we didn’t think that would look good. We are on a hill and I believe there is only one neighbor, directly below us, that can see the array,” they said.

Even so, the sight was apparently intolerable to the HOA

“The day after construction completion, we received a cease and desist letter from the [management company] that said we had not submitted an application,” they shared. 

After the homeowner provided proof of the prior communications, they were told that the initial approval was a mistake. A member of the ACC even trespassed on their property to take measurements.

The Redditor wasn’t sure the HOA even had the authority to govern that type of installation. 

“Are ground mount solar panel arrays considered a building or a utility?” they asked. 

According to commenters, the case seemed cut and dried. 

“You have your approval from them. Should be a piece of cake for your lawyer,” said one user.

There are also ways to change HOA rules to allow eco-friendly improvements like solar panels or native lawns.

Finally, as one Redditor pointed out, the law is on the original poster’s side. 

“Per Texas Property Code 202.010 (b) and (d), if you filled out an ACC application, submitted it, and didn’t violate any of the restrictions in subsection d, the board can NOT deny your application,” they said.

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