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Homeowner outraged after receiving bizarre demand from their HOA: 'It's ... ultimately your responsibility'

"If they continue to deny it, then start considering your legal response."

"If they continue to deny it, then start considering your legal response."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner was blindsided by a demand from their HOA to follow a complicated approval process a year after their solar panels were put in place.

"I hired a company to install solar panels on my roof last year," the homeowner explained in a Reddit post on r/HOA. "The HOA has asked me to file for retroactive 'permission' with a form for the HOA architectural committee wanting photos of the panel layout from above, and all data sheets for the product."

According to the homeowner, this came about because their installer dropped the ball. "The solar company was supposed to file all necessary paperwork with the HOA, but has not and is not cooperating well. I'm handling that," they said.

But even with that setback, the homeowner found the request for photos excessive. "I was under the impression that section 163.04.2 of the Florida statutes … means that … the HOA cannot force me to do much of anything to comply with the filing," they said.

The law, which they quoted, says that an HOA can't restrict or deny the installation of "solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources." The one thing it can do is pick the panel placement as long as it doesn't make them less effective — but these solar panels are already in place.

Still, it wouldn't be the first time a homeowners association put an apparently illegal restriction on solar panels. HOAs often oppose solar panels based on appearance, overlooking the amount of money they save for homeowners and how clean energy benefits the environment. Residents have to work hard to change the rules.

When HOAs make it harder for homeowners to adopt solar energy or other sustainable practices, they contribute to the larger issue of climate change. For a sustainable future, the transition to clean, renewable energy sources is essential, and HOAs need to support this transition, not hinder it.

"If I do not comply with the paperwork filing, does the HOA have a legal leg to stand on to litigate?" the homeowner asked.

"It's also ultimately your responsibility and not the contractor's to make sure the application was approved by the HOA," one person replied

Another commenter recommended playing along for now: "Go through the process of filing the RRR. They may just be trying to check off a checkbox so they can rubber stamp approve it. If they deny it, show them the law. If they continue to deny it, then start considering your legal response. No need to go in swinging too hard before necessary."

The homeowner seems to have agreed; in an update, they said: "My solar company finally provided me with the documentation I requested four months ago. I am submitting the proper documentation this week."

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