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Homeowner gets HOA to back down from preventing money-saving home addition: 'Congratulations on your absolute victory'

"I would have immediately mailed a copy and an explanation to everyone in the neighborhood."

"I would have immediately mailed a copy and an explanation to everyone in the neighborhood."

Photo Credit: iStock

Battling with homeowners' associations when trying to make beneficial changes to your property can be an exhausting experience. But, when you win the fight, it's undoubtedly satisfying.

One homeowner under an HOA took to Reddit to tell the tale of their tussle with the local authority regarding the installation of solar panels on their home.

"Need some salt? Try getting solar panels," they captioned the post, referring to a terse response from the HOA when they were finally allowed to add the cost-saving and pollution-reducing technology to the property.

"Last year, we wanted to get solar panels installed on the front roof of our south-facing house," the original poster detailed.

"We looked through the bylaws, and there was no mention of them. Cool. We submitted a formal request to the Architecture Review Committee, playing by the rules, expecting a quick 'yeah, sure, there's no rule against it.'

"Silly us."

Indeed, the HOA pushed back on the installation, raising issues with the placement of the panels on the property and, most bafflingly, concern about the possibility the panels would reflect sunlight onto the opposite neighbor's house. 

The main grounds for opposition was the HOA's assertion that, under its rules, no heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system (HVAC) could be added to the front of a property. 

Image Credit: Imgur

In response, the homeowner explained to the HOA that solar panels are not considered to be an HVAC system and that Virginia laws would not allow an HOA to ban a resident from installing them. 

After some back-and-forth, and following a community meeting with installers to convince the board it was legal and unproblematic, the HOA finally caved, but not before they sent a letter full of legalese and passive aggression to essentially say, "You were right, we can't stop you."

"That's an interesting letter that sets an interesting precedent, specifically that anyone can just up and get solar panels," one Redditor said. "Congratulations on your absolute victory." 

"I would have immediately mailed a copy and an explanation to everyone in the neighborhood," added another

Solar panels can bring huge benefits for homeowners. While the cost of buying and installing them can be high — although local grants might be available — the systems will essentially pay for themselves after a few years via savings on energy bills.

Furthermore, the production of clean energy reduces reliance on the local electricity grid, which may source its energy from coal-powered plants — thus reducing the production of planet-warming pollution. 

Although HOAs have a reputation for being draconian, this homeowner has demonstrated that with the right level of preparation and patience, it is possible to work with such organizations.

When it allows you to make beneficial changes to your property, such as adding solar panels or installing a native-plant lawn, the effort will be worth it.

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