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Homeowner fights back against HOA's decision to block money-saving home improvement: 'What your HOA is doing is illegal'

"Did I just sign up for a long ride?"

“Did I just sign up for a long ride?”

Photo Credit: Getty

A Reddit user from Kansas City, Missouri, was frustrated to find that their HOA wanted to block them from installing solar panels on the front of their home, despite a recent law protecting homeowners in that exact scenario.

Senate Bill 820, which went into effect in January 2023, exists to protect the right of Missouri homeowners to make money-saving and eco-friendly alterations to their homes.

HOAs can have reasonable guidelines in place to govern the installation of solar panels. However, the law nullifies any rule that would make a homeowner's new solar setup significantly more expensive or less efficient.

That's why this Redditor was shocked at their HOA's response to their application. "Has anyone had experience with their HOA attempting to block the installation of solar on the front of your house as opposed to the back?" they asked, clarifying that this happened after the Jan. 1 cutoff date. "Between the front and back of my house there is a 30% drop in efficiency, so I don't believe the HOA has any right to decline my request with how I read the new law."

Nevertheless, their HOA refused to sign off on their plan. It's not the first HOA to apparently defy state law by doing so; another Redditor experienced a similar issue in California, a state with extremely strong solar protection laws.

This Redditor didn't intend to take the HOA overreach lying down. "I've already started an appeal process, but just curious if others have had a similar experience," they said. "Did I just sign up for a long ride?"

Most HOAs have an internal appeals process for board decisions that homeowners disagree with. There are even ways to change the HOA's rules to allow home modifications that were prohibited before.

If that doesn't work, though, there are other steps a homeowner can take, including taking it to court. "What your HoA is doing is illegal," one commenter pointed out.

"You have a case, and your HOA won't be able to enforce if pursued," said another user.

"Ours tried to stop a resident from installing an array on their property," a third Redditor commented. "They ultimately lost a court battle, and the solar panels remain."

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