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Homeowner questions HOA’s attempt to ignore state law regarding solar panels: ‘By law, they will be unable to deny you’

“Would a HOA have any authority?”

“Would a HOA have any authority?"

Photo Credit: iStock

One Missouri homeowner was frustrated when their HOA seemed to ignore a new law that protected their right to make a money-saving, eco-friendly change to their property.

“[Missouri] is having a solar panel law come into effect on January 1, 2023,” they explained. “My HOA has just listed their set of rules in regard to solar panels. Some of the rules seem questionable.”

As the Redditor pointed out, the new law was clear about its limitations on HOAs. “Added the text from the Senate Bill,” they said. “‘This act specifies that no deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement running with the land shall limit or prohibit the installation of solar panels or solar collectors. … A homeowners’ association may adopt reasonable rules … to the extent those rules do not prevent the installation of the device or adversely affect its functioning, use, cost, or efficiency.’”

That seemed at odds with the HOA’s new rule, which the original poster quoted in a comment. It said, “Should a Homeowner install a Solar Energy System which has not been approved by the DRC, the DRC may require removal of such Solar Energy System at the Homeowner’s expense.’”

“Would a HOA have any authority in trying to get the panels removed if I didn’t get it approved by them?” the original poster asked.

This Redditor isn’t the first to have that problem. One Redditor from Kansas City was shocked when their application was rejected in defiance of the new law.

But as commenters pointed out, the state government’s authority is greater than an HOA’s. “Laws almost always take precedence unless they say they don’t,” said one user.

However, since the law, in this case, allows HOAs to establish reasonable rules, it was important for the original poster to go through the association’s process. 

“The request for the solar panels should go through your architectural board to ensure that their placement doesn’t interfere with another homeowner or a common area,” said another commenter. “If they don’t, they MUST be approved. By law, they will be unable to deny you getting solar panels. Period.”

If the original poster did run into trouble with the HOA’s restrictions on solar panels, they would also have the option to use the HOA’s internal processes to change the rules.

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