HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

UrbandialectUrbandialect Solar Expert Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
I live right outside of Atlanta and came across this story that happened in Cummings GA.

Basically the guy did all his research on Solar and decided to invest in a solar array that would cut his power bill to zero, i'm sure it's a grid tie system he was looking at. After going threw all the red tape to get tax rebate back, and finding a qualified installer he submitted a request to the homeowner association and this is what they said:

“Your Architectural Modification Request for the installation of solar panels has been denied. Based on the request as presented, the Board has determined that this modification of the architecture of the residence in question is NOT ACCEPTABLE. The proposed request for modification is rejected by the Board of Directors.

While an appeal process is in place and is available to this member, please be advised that the Board of Directors are not interested in any further input on the "solar panel" request from the member that discusses or relates to any issue other than visibility from the front, back or sides of the residence.

The Board is NOT interested in hearing an appeal based on any debate related to cost, efficiency, engineering, green environment, fire hazard, durability, etc. The Board has accumulated sufficient information from our AAC committee, our residents, our covenants, our by-laws, our attorneys and the request document as presented to reach this proper decision.

We understand your intent to appeal this decision and ask that you schedule a date to present topics that only deal with the “visibility” issue.”


Here is the story
http://www.solarchargeddriving.com/going-solar/hoas-a-solar/777-georgia-hoa-denies-couple-their-solar-dream.html
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Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    This will not surprise anyone who has dealt with any form of HOA.
    It gets expensive to hire lawyers and sue them when they're being obstinate and they know it. That the board is "not interested in hearing an appeal" (regardless of basis or reason) explains the whole thing.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    I live right outside of Atlanta and came across this story that happened in Cummings GA.

    Basically the guy did all his research on Solar and decided to invest in a solar array that would cut his power bill to zero, i'm sure it's a grid tie system he was looking at. After going threw all the red tape to get tax rebate back, and finding a qualified installer he submitted a request to the homeowner association and this is what they said:





    Here is the story
    http://www.solarchargeddriving.com/going-solar/hoas-a-solar/777-georgia-hoa-denies-couple-their-solar-dream.html


    This used to be the normal response in AZ as well, the the state passed laws precluding HOA from blocking ones right the the use of the sun. Hard to beat 4 aces! ;) This is what I had to do to my HOA.

    Below are the Arizona State Statutes for your reference:
    33-439. Restrictions on installation or use of solar energy devices invalid; exception
    A. Any covenant, restriction or condition contained in any deed, contract, security agreement or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property which effectively prohibits the installation or use of a solar energy device as defined in section 44-1761 is void and unenforceable.
    B. A deed, contract, security agreement or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property entered into before April 17, 1980 shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.
    http://www.azleg.gov/ars/33/00439.htm
    33-1816. Solar energy devices; reasonable restrictions; fees and costs
    A. Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents, an association shall not prohibit the installation or use of a solar energy device as defined in section 44-1761.
    B. An association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar energy device if those rules do not prevent the installation, impair the functioning of the device or restrict its use or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.
    C. Notwithstanding any provision of the community documents, the court shall award reasonable attorney fees and costs to any party who substantially prevails in an action against the board of directors of the association for a violation of this section.
    http://www.azleg.gov/ars/33/01816.htm

    44-1761. Definitions
    In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
    1. "Collector" means a component of a solar energy device that is used to absorb solar radiation, convert it to heat or electricity and transfer the heat to a heat transfer fluid or to storage.
    2. "Heat exchanger" means a component of a solar energy device that is used to transfer heat from one fluid to another.
    3. "Solar daylighting" means a device specifically designed to capture and redirect the visible portion of the solar beam spectrum, while controlling the infrared portion, for use in illuminating interior building spaces in lieu of artificial lighting.
    4. "Solar energy device" means a system or series of mechanisms designed primarily to provide heating, to provide cooling, to produce electrical power, to produce mechanical power, to provide solar daylighting or to provide any combination of the foregoing by means of collecting and transferring solar generated energy into such uses either by active or passive means. Such systems may also have the capability of storing such energy for future utilization. Passive systems shall clearly be designed as a solar energy device such as a trombe wall and not merely a part of a normal structure such as a window.
    5. "Storage unit" means a component of a solar energy device that is used to store solar generated electricity or heat for later use.
    http://www.azleg.gov/ars/44/01761.htm
  • UrbandialectUrbandialect Solar Expert Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    I don't know if GA state has any such laws on the book! HOA have way to much power, I wonder what would happen if he install it anyway and gives them the bird? They'll probably find away to kick him out his house or fine him
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    I don't know if GA state has any such laws on the book! HOA have way to much power, I wonder what would happen if he install it anyway and gives them the bird? They'll probably find away to kick him out his house or fine him

    Well my point was that it should be legislated against.

    here are a couple links and it sounds like there is some recourse pending.
    http://usgreensourcecorp.com/hoa-friendly-solar-system.html
    http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-news/closing-hoa-solar-installation-restrictions
  • RoderickRoderick Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    I don't know about Georgia, but in California, we have had it codified in state law that a HOA cannot block the reasonable installation of solar. Safety or access issues are still valid, but aesthetics cannot be used as a justification for barring solar.

    Texas just has, or shortly will, join Arizona and us in this thinking http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB00362F.htm
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    Moronic HOA's,

    Do. It anyway and let them sue you, (if you have deep pockets) or move!

    Tony
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    icarus wrote: »
    Moronic HOA's,

    Do. It anyway and let them sue you, (if you have deep pockets) or move!

    Tony

    Problem is they won't sue you, they just levy fines and lien the property. You go to sell and your property is now clouded.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    I gotta talk to my senator about making this a law in NC as well. The NC solar law is pathetic and does nothing to help homeowners get solar panels.
    http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=NC08R&re=1&ee=1
  • solarixsolarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    If you believe the global economy is headed for a huge train wreck, one important move you need to make is to live in a community that is locally sustainable - not one that makes asthetics all-important. HOA's and suburbia in general will one day be seen as the greatest mis-allocation of resources in the history of mankind.
  • jeffkrusejeffkruse Solar Expert Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    But if you don't like HOA's then you don't have to live there :confused:

    Why do people hate them so much?

    I wished I lived where there was one. Things go to hell real quick when no one follows the rules.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    jeffkruse wrote: »

    Why do people hate them so much?

    I wished I lived where there was one. Things go to hell real quick when no one follows the rules.

    Interesting. That's what the leaders of most dictatorships say. I for one thank God I live in the country without self appointed elite neighbors dictating my ever move!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,992 admin
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    Easy folks... HOA's are certainly not for everyone. But they seem no worse than our local city governments (not that I am in love with ours). ;)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    BB. wrote: »
    Easy folks... HOA's are certainly not for everyone. But they seem no worse than our local city governments (not that I am in love with ours). ;)

    -Bill

    i'll say that you are right sometimes that it is similar to our local city governments, but only on steroids. local city governments have been known to go overboard but not with the ferocity it does with hoas. where else can you let your neighbors dictate the ridiculous like not only what kind of roofing you get, but what color too? it's where your neighbor can tell you you aren't allowed hedges for privacy or to plant a tree in your front yard for shade or no antennas making cable forced upon you, etc.? it was born out of people that love to dictate to others and made it a covenant on the sale of the property to be followed with the force of law. imho anybody who does not like to be told what to do and when should never join an hoa. they go much farther than just keeping a neighborhood nice. solar and ham radio both are not of the cookie cutter mold found in hoas and are usually forbidden. ham radio got a jump against such ridiculous laws with prb1, but it does not change an hoa ruling as far as i know adding that i'm not up on it to any real extent because it hasn't affected me.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,992 admin
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    Actually, about 1/2 of what you are complaining about is what our city has done in the past or present...

    In one case, came down to one city employee that had complete ownership of the planning process for homes and businesses... Took years to get approval for a simple 2nd story addition, could not read their own codes., told folks to follow what was the style of the neighborhood--then promptly would undo the plans and require (ugly) stuff that was not anywhere in the 90,000 population city. And giving trees more rights than they give people. Much of the architectural requirements made solar PV/Heating almost impossible (faceted roofs, no large roof planes allowed, second story setbacks, etc.).

    Apparently, after involvement of his car, small animals, and even gun shots--The city council killed the entire department (and all the employees) and started over.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jeffkrusejeffkruse Solar Expert Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    :confused: People choose to live where an HOA exists, correct? If so, why would someone be upset with one? You agree to live by the HOA rules when you buy your house there. HOA’s don’t just pop up in old neighborhoods do they? I mean, they can’t force you to join one can they?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,992 admin
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    I would personally avoid buying a home with an HOA--but that is me.

    The other issue is, over time, things change... You can have a great HOA (or city planning department) and in a year or too--Have a nightmare. Then it takes the next decade worth of elections and complaints to get back what you had when you bought in.

    In many cities, they started acting like HOA's because the cities where/are trying to boost revenues via property taxes, sales taxes, connection fees, permitting fees, etc.

    See eminent domain and Kelo vs City of New London.
    Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)[1] was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan which promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
    The City eventually agreed to move Susette Kelo's house to a new location and to pay substantial additional compensation to other homeowners. The redeveloper was unable to obtain financing and had to abandon the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot.[2]
    ...
    The final cost to the city and state for the purchase and bulldozing of the formerly privately held property was $78 million.[16]
    Not sure that HOA's are any worse than the typical city these days.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    Having dealt with government agencies and strata councils (HOA's) I can tell you there's little difference and for the same reason: give some people a bit of power and they suddenly think they're in charge of the whole universe and everyone must do as they say. Usually these are the people with the least understanding of a situation. They end up saying "no" because they don't know what they're talking about. This phenomenon can turn up in all sorts of organizations, not just the two mentioned.

    It's why I live so far out in the middle of nowhere that even the government doesn't care what I do (since we got rid of that last idiot at Forestry).

    As Josh Billings said: "The trouble ain't the people that don't know anything, it's the one who know so many things that ain't so."
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    "People choose to live where an HOA exists, correct?"

    Nope. I had no idea when I bought my first house. I asked my lawyer what that one page in the mortgage paper work meant and he told me to just sign it and it wasn't a big deal. He did some HOA's were silly and didn't allow things like clothes lines. I said that was stupid and signed that document not knowing what it meant. Ironically my HOA does not allow clothes lines.


    If so, why would someone be upset with one?

    Generally it is because of their lack of consistency on any rules they make up. The language in the by laws is so vague that everyone is in violation if you want them to be. My HOA says you can't have weeds on your property, technically everyone has violated that rule. I have been told numerous times that my house must look better because it is at the front of the neighborhood, another made up rule.

    Another reason is the very poor communication and non democratic methods. Decisions that spend thousands of dollars of home owners money on things like a $25,000 picnic shelter are not brought to the owners attention.

    Lastly is the power factor, people like you think there are some "rules" that must apply to everyone. Other people like me think the opposite, that rules should only apply if they make sense. Often these rules aren't even practical. For example forcing people to buy electric or gas dryers is very polluting and a big waste of energy. All because the Jones don't want to see my underwear? Can you say superficial?

    You agree to live by the HOA rules when you buy your house there. HOA’s don’t just pop up in old neighborhoods do they?

    Not unless everyone agrees to it. Most people though do not understand an HOA until they have a problem with one. the HOA document never spells out all the crap they make up.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,573 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    You agree to live by the HOA rules when you buy your house there. HOA’s don’t just pop up in old neighborhoods do they?

    Not unless everyone agrees to it. Most people though do not understand an HOA until they have a problem with one. the HOA document never spells out all the crap they make up.

    And even then, whomever the board is, makes them up as they go along, only beige paint, no mini-blinds visible from the street......

    HOA's are little [email protected] camps. It's bad enough to be in the peoples repubik of kalifornia to be told that I need to add another heater and air conditioning to my off grid house, because the "next owner" might not be energy efficient. Title 24 rules.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • UrbandialectUrbandialect Solar Expert Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    mike90045 wrote: »
    It's bad enough to be in the peoples repubik of kalifornia to be told that I need to add another heater and air conditioning to my off grid house, because the "next owner" might not be energy efficient. Title 24 rules.
    What? that's crazy.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,573 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    What? that's crazy.

    When politicians are in session, no man is safe.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • ShadowcatcherShadowcatcher Solar Expert Posts: 228 ✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    One other possibility would be solar shingles, but I agree this sort of HOA nonsense is silly. One question what would happen if he installed the system and let the HOA absorb the legal costs.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    One question what would happen if he installed the system and let the HOA absorb the legal costs.

    they would sue him and collect their legal costs from him as well as force him to take the solar down.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,992 admin
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    The HOA (and anyone who claims to do work on your home) can put a lien on the home with almost no effort on their part (I had multiple liens placed on my home because somebody wrote the wrong address down when making deliveries across the street to a home remodeling project... Fortunately, that vendor cleared the liens without any fuss on my part).

    If/when you sell the property, it can be a lot of expense on your side to get the lien(s) cleared.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    The only way you can go against the HOA is if state law supports you position. If that was the case, like in my case, I would show them the law and get their approval. If they then fail to approve, get an attorney to look at your case. Here the law states the homeowner will prevail on costs and attorney fees.
  • UrbandialectUrbandialect Solar Expert Posts: 107 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    solar_dave wrote: »
    The only way you can go against the HOA is if state law supports you position. If that was the case, like in my case, I would show them the law and get their approval. If they then fail to approve, get an attorney to look at your case. Here the law states the homeowner will prevail on costs and attorney fees.

    I'm not sure why this cheeses me off, how can HOA sue you for attorney fees when u're in the wrong, but when you're in the right and the law is on your side, and u have to get an attorney to further prove your case, why doesn't the HOA have to pay your attorney fees for making you go threw all this? it's not fair..
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,992 admin
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    Solar Dave said here (Opps--Arizona, not California) the winning home owner will collect on costs and attorney fees.

    However, as I understand, the US does not have "loser pays" with legal actions. So you have to also file and adjudicate the costs and fees too (which you may or may not win, and, in any case will generate more costs and fees--Which both sides' attorneys are perfectly happy with).

    And to add on the the pain of HOA--there is a good chance that any payments to you will result in a special assessment to spread them across the community... Depending on the size of the HOA, you could be assessed to pay yourself (a small chunk) off for winning. :roll:

    Nationalized Law-fair/fare anyone? I think that is more important that nationalized health care. :p

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood
    it's not fair..

    We're not talking about fair; we're talking about law. :roll:
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    That is Arizona law BTW. If required to sue the HOA the homeowners gets the costs covered by the judgement against the HOA. The law alone keeps the HOA from heading to court. Really was a nice deterrent in my case. The third and final application to the HOA contained a letter quoting the AZ law and made it clear my attorney was the next step if not approved. Result! A rapid almost instant approval, with a couple attorneys on the board it was inevitable. Personally I think the first two denials were just hopes that I would just drop it, fat chance.
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Solar Expert Posts: 373 ✭✭✭
    Re: HOA wont allow couple to install solar panels in neighborhood

    What a nightmare. I was lucky at my present home. The HOA quickly gave me a written approval, but I had a copy of the FL statute ready just in case.

    But now we're moving. Spent a good part of the morning pulling panels, cutting wires, plugging roof holes, and hauling gear off the roof. Should be done tomorrow.

    In our quest to find another home, I actually knocked two neighborhoods off our list of potential places because of their HOA rules. No shed, no parking cars in the driveway overnight, blah blah. I think they'd freak when I started putting panels on the roof. Don't want to duplicate the hassle of what these people have experienced.

    So the home we've selected has no HOA, or deed restrictions. Has a nice South facing roof that doesn't face the road. Moving the middle of next month, and will quickly install the panels without any hassle.

    The HOA we had was fine, but there are enough horror stories that I'm done with HOAs. I can park my truck in MY driveway, and there's already a shed in MY backyard! :p Food for thought when shopping for another house...
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