A homeowners’ association’s (HOA’s) covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) required owners of units in the CID to obtain permission before making any improvements to their property. A homeowner requested permission to install solar panels on a slope on his property and the HOA rejected his request, suggesting the panels be installed on the homeowner’s roof instead. The homeowner sought to install the solar panels on the slope, claiming the HOA’s enforcement of the CC&Rs unlawfully placed unreasonable restrictions on solar panel installation. The HOA claimed the CC&Rs did not impose unreasonable restrictions, as its rejection included a suggestion to install solar panels on the roof. A California appeals court held the HOA’s suggestion to install solar panels on the roof instead of the slope was a reasonable restriction, as it did not significantly increase the cost of the project or decrease performance of the panels. [Tesoro Del Valle Master Homeowners Association v. Martin Griffin (2011) 200 CA 4th 619]
Editor’s note – When purchasing a property in a CID, owners agree to living restrictions and additional ownership operating costs under the CC&Rs in exchange for every other owner-member doing the same. Agents must present buyers with the HOA’s CC&Rs upfront as soon as possible so potential buyers fully understand the restrictions inherent in living in a communal development before submitting an offer to purchase. All first tuesday purchase agreements include an acknowledgment of the buyer’s receipt of HOA documents on operating restrictions and financial obligations to form a more problem-free contract.