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Homeowner fuming after HOA attempts to block them from common home renovation: 'It could take half a year or more to get this resolved'

"Get your neighbors to sign off on it."

"Get your neighbors to sign off on it."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Florida homeowner took to Reddit to get help as they tried to work with an "ignorant" homeowners association.

The intractable dispute involved solar panels, and the HOA was obstructing the process with seemingly ridiculous assertions — as they have been known to do.

"I'm so upset," the poster wrote. "The ignorant HOA is trying to stop me from putting Solar Panels on my roof. & According to Florida Statute 163.04, they should not be allowed to stop me.

"However, the HOA is saying that because its a shared roof, Florida law does not apply? ?? (Ftr, I only intend to put solar on my portion of the roof, over my specific townhouse ~ not trying to infringe on the next-door neighbor's roof/space). Anyways, the HOA is also saying that the roof's warranty will be voided by the placement of solar panels.. which I find a little hard to believe."

The advice request was posted in the r/solar subreddit, though it would've been equally at home in a popular anti-HOA subreddit. The nationwide organizations are the bane of many homeowners' existences, stalling, preventing, and undoing improvement projects from solar panels to native plant lawns.

One of the most head-scratching instances involved someone who was banned from parking their electric vehicle in a garage. Turns out the HOA lied about the situation.

Not only do such actions inflame emotions, but they also contribute to the warming of our planet. Solar panels are necessary to move away from our reliance on dirty energy, and xeriscaping and other yard makeovers can positively impact the environment by reducing water usage, improving flood and erosion control, and providing habitat for pollinators.

One commenter in the thread provided resources for the poster to share with a lawyer, though another suggested going to the HOA first to avoid retaining expensive legal counsel.

The first responded: "Depends on their history with the HOA, how often the HOA meets, and how aggressive they want to be. If the HOA meets once a quarter then it could take half a year or more to get this resolved in a back and forth sharing documentation and waiting for a vote. In that case, it would be faster and more proactive to have a letter from a lawyer drafted along with whatever submission form they may have for solar."

Many others noted the roof was likely a "community space," and therefore, the poster was "out of luck," but one offered a pleasing potential solution.

"Get your neighbors to sign off on it (since they truly dictate the rules) in exchange for providing cell phone charging during daylight hours for hurricane outages," they wrote. "They get something, you get something and everyone wins. You may need to sweeten the pot by offering to pay for roof leaks that damage any adjoining neighbors if it can be proven the roof leaks were a result of solar installation. Perhaps you could educate the other owners on solar benefits and some in the community could do a group buy."

If you're in a similar conundrum, check out this guide about how to change your HOA's bylaws.

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