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Homeowner fights back against HOA's response to her money-saving roof alterations: 'This is my house'

"I should be able to do this — especially for a good reason."

Solar panel bans

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Despite a new state law against solar panel bans, Missouri's Thousand Oaks Homeowners Association (HOA) is standing firm against resident Laurie McGuire's plan to install solar power, KMBC reports.

The Thousand Oaks HOA isn't alone in its resistance. Many HOAs object to solar panels because they change the appearance of the home. But homeowners love them because they create free electricity, lowering utility bills. They also raise property values, and they're even good for the environment because they help replace polluting energy sources.

For these reasons, Missouri recently adopted Senate Bill 820, which KMBC explains is to prevent organizations like HOAs from banning solar panels. Under the law, which took effect in January, HOAs are allowed to have "reasonable" guidelines for solar panel installation, but they can't raise the cost or lower the efficiency of the device.

McGuire submitted an application for solar panels to her HOA after wanting them for 17 years, KMBC reports. McGuire told KMBC that the panels she proposed would cut her electric bill by 75%.

But according to the Thousand Oaks HOA, McGuire's plan didn't fit their guidelines, KMBC says. She would need to remove all the solar panels on the side of her house facing the road, severely reducing the amount of power her system would generate.

"That would decrease the efficiency, which is in direct violation of the law," McGuire told KMBC.

But Thousand Oaks' lawyer told KMBC that it "believes its policy is fully compliant with Missouri law," and that the HOA had met with a state representative to clarify the "efficiency" wording, which it "believes causes conflicting interpretations by its residents and the Association."

"I am actually working on drafting some clarification to that," state Rep. Jamie Johnson told KMBC. She planned to meet with the bill's author, Rep. Mike Haffner, to discuss the issue.

But as far as McGuire is concerned, the matter is clear-cut. As she told KMBC, "This is my house. I should be able, within reason, I should be able to do this — especially for a good reason."

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