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Homeowner fuming over HOA's extra charges for eco-friendly feature: 'It's like I am going to get punished'

"This has really annoyed me."

"This has really annoyed me."

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner was seething when they said they faced a choice between downgrading an eco-friendly feature of their home or paying their HOA extra to keep it.

"Our condo is in need of new roofs. There will have to be a special assessment to collect in order to pay for it," they explained in a Reddit post in the r/f***HOA subreddit, estimating the cost at about $7,000 per unit — already a hefty amount.

According to the original poster, though, their complex didn't have just any old roof. It had skylights. Not only are these roof features beautiful, but they also let homeowners take advantage of natural light, enjoy the soothing and uplifting colors of sun- and moonlight, save money on illuminating the home, and protect the environment by using less electricity.

Unfortunately, those skylights weren't accounted for in the new roofing plan. 

"The president said each homeowner is also in charge of either buying their own skylight to replace the existing skylight or they can choose to do away with their skylight," the outraged owner said. 

And the financial penalties didn't end there. "If homeowners decided to replace skylight they would be held responsible for any future leaks around the skylight instead of the HOA being responsible for the roof leaks," the original poster wrote.

This Redditor's HOA isn't the first to throw up roadblocks to money-saving, responsible home upgrades. HOAs often stand in the way of another energy-saving roof feature, solar panels, because of the way they look. They also push for grass lawns, even though they take hours upon hours of maintenance and waste water.

"This has really annoyed me," the Redditor said. "It's like I am going to get punished for deciding to keep my skylight. What would you say about this?"

Commenters were quick to find a way forward. "What do your governing documents say? They take precedence over whatever the president says," one user said.

Another said: "You need a HOA lawyer to determine what happens with the square footage that the skylight took up. It also costs money to remove the skylight and costs money for the roof material; is the Board billing all roofing materials equally regardless if you keep your skylight?"

Even if the rules aren't on the homeowner's side, there's still hope. HOAs have internal processes for changing their bylaws to fit the community's wishes. For homeowners looking to navigate the process of transforming their home and community practices for the better, this insightful guide offers valuable step-by-step advice on how to work with your HOA to promote sustainable features.

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