On Thursday March 10, 2022, Indiana House Bill 1196 was passed into law. It provides that:

  • “a homeowners association may require certain screening and preapproval procedures before an owner of a dwelling unit may install a solar energy system; and
  • a homeowners association may prohibit the installation, use, or removal of a solar energy system under certain circumstances.”

Homeowner Requirements

According to the new law, an eligible homeowner “may petition other homeowners association members for approval to install a solar energy system on the homeowner’s dwelling unit or property.”

The homeowner must provide information, including:

  • The site plan of the solar energy system to be installed, including:
    • the property boundaries.
    • a description of the dwelling unit.
    • the color of the solar energy system, and
    • any screening to be used in connection with the solar energy system, if the solar energy system is to be installed in a location other than on the roof of the homeowner’s dwelling unit.
  • The vendor and installer of the solar energy system.
  • The plans and specifications for the solar energy system, if requested by the other homeowners association members.

Petitioning homeowners must also obtain the required number of signatures to amend the association’s covenants or association governing document or obtain signatures of at least sixty-five percent (65%) of the association unit owners, whichever is less.

Board Members and Property Managers: What You Need To Know

As noted in the new law: “Once the homeowner obtains the required number of signatures…the homeowner must present the signatures and information provided…to the homeowners association board of directors.

The board of directors, an architectural review committee, or an architectural control committee of the homeowners association may not deny the homeowner’s request to install the solar energy system once the homeowner has obtained the required number of signatures, if the homeowner complied with the requirements.”

Moreover, the law goes into detail regarding disclosure of additional information when petitioning other homeowners in the association, including:

  • Solar panel installation
  • Solar panel energy systems
  • Fencing, support brackets, piping
  • Roofing
  • Warranties

The full legislation can be found here: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2022/bills/house/1196

Legal Impact on Community Associations

While this legislation provides a path for approval of solar panel installation to homeowners who were previously denied in their requests, this bill strikes a balance as it recognizes the competing interests of a homeowners association in seeking consent and approval from a supermajority of fellow owners.

When presented with inquiries, the association’s legal counsel can assist by:

  • ensuring the requirements of the bill are properly followed, and
  • assisting a board of directors in determining whether a request must be granted.

If your Indiana homeowner (HOA), condominium, or townhome association has questions regarding this new law and solar panels in your community, do not hesitate to contact our law firm.

Please call 317.388.5564 or visit www.ksnlaw.com.

Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collections, landlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We have four office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Our attorneys are also licensed in Arizona, Florida, and Missouri.

 

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