Florida Law Limits Condo and HOA from Restricting Installation of Renewable Resources Such as Solar Panels
While broad powers are afforded to condominium and homeowner associations to regulate and limit the rights of unit and homeowners on what improvements can be made to their property when living in a planned urban development, there are limitations and Florida law limits Condo and HOA from restricting installation of renewable resources such as solar panels.
For example, Florida Statute s. 163.04, entitled Energy devices based on renewable resources, expressly prohibits restrictions on the installation of solar collectors or other energy devices based on renewable resources. To read this statute on how Florida Law Limits Condo and HOA From Restricting Installation of Renewable Resources Such as Solar Panels, click here.
The law prohibits a deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement from promulgating rules or regulations that would have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed. Therefore, a property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices or create any restriction that would forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit.
However, these restrictions are not without limitations. For example, the law does allow associations to regulate and make determinations as to where solar panels can be installed. However, those restrictions in location placement cannot make the renewable energy device ineffective. For example, an association may decide the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south with a warning… such determination cannot impair or render ineffective the operation of the solar collectors.
More importantly, in any litigation arising under section 163.04, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. Therefore, should a condo or HOA violate this statute, and you are required to litigate to enforce your legal rights under this section, the association may be required to reimburse you for your reasonable attorney’s fees and costs expended in enforcing your rights. This provision makes it easier for property owners to seek legal representation.
Like with any other improvements, it is always recommended that submission to the community’s Architectural Review Committee (a.k.a. ARC) is critical, regardless of the existence of this legal limitations. Some reasonable requirements that can be implemented by the association would include an agreement by the property owner that they agree to reimburse and indemnify the association for any damages associated with the installation process, which would include replacement of any damaged landscaping by the trucks and equipment used for the installation and provided that all required permits by the county or municipality are obtained.
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