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Homeowner at odds with HOA over its decision to deny common property upgrade: 'Still fighting though'

"The HOAs will try to bully you."

"The HOAs will try to bully you."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Virginia homeowner hoping to make eco-friendly improvements to their house ran into a roadblock that many across the country have faced.

The homeowner took to the r/solar subreddit to seek advice for a homeowners association blocking their attempt to install a solar panel on the front side of their home.

"Even though the law states [that] any loss of production [of] more [than] 10% of energy [in case] of restriction must be deemed not reasonable," the user explained. "The HOA declaration denies any solar installations. So any request [is] approved case by case. Any suggestion on how to approach this?"

The Foundation for Community Association Research reported that approximately 25-27% of the U.S. population lives in communities governed by HOAs. Unfortunately, HOA restrictions have raised frustrations among homeowners hoping to make money-saving, eco-friendly updates to their homes, such as adding rooftop solar panels or installing native plant lawns.

For anyone hoping to work with their HOA to change established rules, check out this guide. For example, Solar United Neighbors detailed specific solar panel laws in 11 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Installing solar panels is a big step toward a cleaner, greener home and can help save a chunk of change on energy bills in the long run. Also, real estate marketplace Zillow determined that adding solar panels can increase the value of homes by an average of 4.1%.

If this Reddit user were successful, they would not only have significantly lowered the amount they spend on electricity, but they would also have had the opportunity to receive credit from their utility company through the net metering program

As part of the net metering program, the excess power generated from solar panels gets sent back to the electrical grid to be used when solar-powered homes draw electricity, and the cost is offset by the credit.

One commenter from California suggested that the user ignore the HOA restrictions, writing, "The HOAs will try to bully you, but establish dominance by doing it anyway. After you install, let your neighbors know you got to stick it to the HOA by going solar. This might get you some referral bonuses."

The user replied, "Here the regulations are not as strong as CA. Companies hesitate to go against [HOAs] in VA. Still fighting though."

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