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Our HOA denied my request for a solar sunroom with no

Customer Question
Our HOA denied my...

Our HOA denied my request for a solar sunroom with no written reason. The verbal reason was that I didn’t want it for solar energy purposes, I wanted it solely to add square footage. Not true, as illustrated by our big investments in solar energy systems.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state the association is in?

California

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

I filed a request

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The denied in writing, one sentence.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
1/4/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10,189
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. What questions did you have for me regarding this?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
CA has new solar energy laws. The 11-Year-old CC&Rs make no allowance for that. Their written denial stated no reason. The chair of the architectural committee said she hated solar, it was ugly, it wouldn’t exist if she could help it, etc. this installation would be invisible to anyone unless you were in our back uard
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Ca solar energy laws are in my favor.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I'm sorry to hear about that. As far as the solar energy laws, ini your opinion, how do they apply to your situation? I have not read the new laws so I'm not completely up to date.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
HOAs can’t deny solar energy requests if state law says otherwise. They can’t refuse capriciously.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Look up the Smith-Stirling act
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I see what you mean. Based on what I can see, this appears to be a violation of the implied covenant (promise) of good faith and fair dealing because they did not reasonably deny your request. Under the Uniform Commercial Code Section 1-304, every contract comes with implied promises from both parties that they are going to be acting fairly toward one another. The failure of one party to act fairly toward other can result in a breach of contract. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for advising of a breach of contract. It's a bit easier (and cheaper) than going through litigation and I have seen it be effective in the past. If this doesn’t work, sadly, the only other option is to either go through an informal mediation or file a lawsuit in your local court. This website is also pretty cool because you can just purchase, download, and go. Click here to get started.

California Civil Code Sections 714 and 714.1 says that there are limits covenants, conditions, and restrictions to restrict solar installations and requires timely review. Unless your solar panels were unreasonable, they cannot do that. You could potentially sue for violation of the uCC and the Civil Code in your situation. However, this depends on whether you would like to do this.

What other questions did you have for me today?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
These aren’t solar panels, it’s a solar sunroom that would gather and redistribute warmth.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I see. The civil code doesn't cover sunrooms. It would likely fall under most other rooms that are converted. For example, if you convert your garage to a place to grow marijuana, then you are converting one room to another. Usually, the HOA cannot involve themselves in those changes. What kinds of significant changes would you make such that it would trouble the HOA?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
A room built to store warmth and/or create insulated space is called a solar energy system here.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Do you have to make any substantial or material changes to your roof, any shared walls, or the structure of the home?

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