As a homeowners association (HOA) board member, it is your duty to approve of most renovations that take place within your community. However, your HOA should be cautious with regards to restricting the installation or use of solar panels. Florida’s Solar Rights Act protects homeowners who wish to install solar panels on their property.
In this article, we will be discussing this law and what it means for HOAs. If you are unsure of how to properly implement regulations in compliance with state law, consult with Wise Property Management, a Tampa HOA management company, for assistance.
The Florida Solar Rights Act
As stipulated by Florida Statute 163.04, HOAs are forbidden from prohibiting the installation of solar panels on Florida buildings. Specifically, the law states:
A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit.
Not only is your HOA not allowed to restrict the installation of solar panels, but it is also prohibited from restricting the installation of energy devices of any kind.
What Can HOAs Do?
While your HOA can’t prohibit solar panel installation, it does have a voice in this matter. A review board or committee can determine the specific roof location on which the panels are to be installed as long is it is “within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.” Essentially, your HOA can choose where the solar panels go as long as it does not interfere with the system’s performance.
Partner with a Management Company to Avoid Litigation
For the above reasons, your HOA must be cautious when addressing this issue in the community. Simply requiring that solar panels be hidden from view by trees or fencing is generally enough to violate the Florida Solar Rights Act. Bottom line: you can’t prohibit or restrict solar panels in your community for being merely an eyesore.
As mentioned previously, a costly legal dispute can easily result from attempts to restrict homeowner renovations. However, your HOA cannot afford to be apprehensive regarding the problems and challenges that will undoubtedly present themselves to your community. Your HOA must always have a plan in place for dealing with conflicts, infractions, needed repairs, and late dues, among other issues. To ensure that your HOA acts lawfully and effectively when addressing any and all concerns in your community, request a proposal from Wise Property Management, a Tampa HOA management company.
Are you ready to work with a Tampa association management company that makes life easier for you and your board members and improves the value of your property? If so, submit our proposal request form today!