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Homeowner faces a roadblock with their HOA over money-saving home modification: 'It effectively bars half the houses'

"HOAs are still allowed to get away with this nonsense?"

"HOAs are still allowed to get away with this nonsense?"

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner started planning a strategic takeover when their HOA refused their application for solar panels.

"We are in a small new development HOA," the homeowner explained, adding that the neighborhood held only 13 houses. "There was a provision in the HOA guidelines that said the HOA would need to approve modifications to homes including solar, decks, etc. We are in Pennsylvania, so there is no solar rights law."

Despite the lack of legal protections, the homeowner was optimistic about being able to install solar panels. "I submitted an application for solar panels on [the] east (back) and west (front) of the house. They said that the board decided after talking to some residents to only allow them on the rear."

According to the Redditor, this contradicted what they'd heard from the neighbors themselves, who were fine with the solar panels. "One problem with this rule is that it effectively bars half the houses from having solar, as the only non-north facing roof is the front one," they added.

Their best guess for the reason behind the refusal was looks. "The HOA was run by the builder at the time … so I believe this provision was mostly in there to prevent early buyers from doing things that may prevent the sale of other lots," they said. That's a common attitude in HOAs, even though solar panels save money and reduce the air pollution produced each year.

But there was still hope for this user. "Now that everything is almost built, they will soon be handing over control of the HOA to the residents," the original poster said. "HOA elections are coming up so I am going to run and try and change the rules to allow solar."

It's a solid plan, but you don't have to be on the board to change the rules. HOAs have policies and processes for allowing the residents to make changes, too.

Commenters were frustrated on the original poster's behalf. "Holey moley, we [are] in the midst of a climate crisis and HOAs are still allowed to get away with this nonsense?" said one user.

"Hopefully you know a lot of your neighbors and can convince them to attend the meeting so you are overwhelmingly elected in," said another commenter. "I would suggest that you have a few of your friends run as well."

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