Imagine working day and night to save enough money to buy a house. Naturally, you should be able to modify it based on your taste. Then you receive a legal cease-and-desist letter simply for putting solar panels on your own roof.

That’s the reality of Alex Betancourt. In 2021, the man and his family received a letter from their community’s HOA. Why? They disapproved of him putting solar panels on his own house. So they demanded that he remove them immediately. What happened next? Read on.

The Start Of A Strange Story

Alex Betancourt moved his family to nearby Suwanee in 2021. They purchased a beautiful house that met all their requirements. It had schools nearby. The home was spacious. Plus, the neighborhood seemed lively.

Source: Freepik

Mr. Betancourt wanted his family to feel more comfortable in their new house. So, he decided to install solar panels on his roof. Besides, it wasn’t obstructed by trees and was open to enough sunlight. Unfortunately, the neighborhood didn’t approve of this change.

The HOA Stopped His Project

Out of nowhere, the Home Owner’s Association contacted Alex. They caught wind of his little project and wanted him to stop immediately. What for? According to the organization, the solar panels didn’t meet the community’s standards.

Source: Freepik/benzoix

However, that comment didn’t stop Alex. He continued with his project and filed for an appeal. Sadly, the board rejected his request after months of hearing. They stood on their decision that solar panels don’t belong in the community.

What Happens If He Doesn’t Comply?

People were puzzled by the story. Technically, Betancourt should be able to modify his house. Besides, solar panels aren’t problematic to the environment. It’s even commendable that he’s going green. Anyway, what happens if Mr. Betancourt decides to ignore the HOA and continue with his project?

Source: Unsplash/Aarush Kochar

Betancourt chose that route. So, an attorney sends the couple a letter every month. Why? It contained a fine charging them $25 daily as long as the panels stayed on their roof. But it doesn’t end here. The letter also mentioned that the HOA could enter the house and remove the panels at any time.

Is This Even Legal? It Depends

HOAs are recognized by the law. In other words, the government gave them the legal right to make and enforce rules in a neighborhood. They also have the right to issue punishments if the homeowners don’t follow the community’s standards.

Source: Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

However, the law doesn’t give them unlimited control. HOAs can typically fine the homeowner as a punishment. If the problem becomes too big, they can go to court. However, they cannot trespass on someone’s property and remove an item.

The Situation Stresses Betancourt

The Homeowners Association promised to vandalize his home by forcefully removing the panels themselves. Fortunately, they have yet to follow through on their threat. The entire situation has stressed Alex.

Source: Wikimedia/Stephen Yang

He comments that the threat brings him significant discomfort. He fears receiving calls about people ripping off his solar panels without permission. Sadly, this isn’t the first time because many homeowners face the same situation.

HOAs Regularly Squash Solar Dreams

Solar panels are an excellent addition to a home. They help to reduce energy usage and cost. Sadly, HOAs rarely approve homeowners’ requests for such modifications. How many people get denied? Around 2.2 million.

Source: NPS/Daniel Lombardi

The executive director of the Georgia Solar Energy Association commented. He said that these problems happen every day. Millions of homeowners get denied by the HOAs for putting solar panels on their homes. But why do they hate solar panels so much?

HOAs Think Solar Panels Are ‘Ugly’

Many wonder why HOAs are so against solar panels. Are they hazardous? Was there an installation problem in the past? People find the actual answer to be less reasonable. The associate banned solar panels because they aren’t aesthetically pleasing.

Source: Wikimedia/Stephen Yang

In other words, the Betancourt family couldn’t get clean energy because it would make their home look ugly. This look can be bad for the neighborhood, like a lawn with overgrown weeds. But that’s not the reason for the ban.

‘Solar Panels Hurt A Property’s Value’

Besides being ugly, HOAs have another excuse for not allowing solar panels. What’s their reason? They claim that solar panels also harm the home value. Is this true? No! Evidence shows the direct opposite.

Source: Pixabay/Nattanan Kanchanaprat

Homes with solar rooftops sell for thousands more than others. However, some people argue that the HOA is “nosey”. A Reddit comment said it’s Alex’s business if his property increases or decreases in value. The HOA is overreaching.

Getting Approval Is Next To Impossible

HOAs hate solar panels. But have some homeowners received permission to install these panels? One example is Bette Holland in Dawson County. Her association first denied her request. However, they promised to change their minds if Holland could get 50 residents to sign a petition.

Source: Flickr/League of Women Voters of California LWVC

After sending hundreds of emails, Holland managed to secure 48 signatures. However, the association did not respond immediately. Even after years, she didn’t receive approval for her project. But, she’s fighting and remains hopeful.

Betancourt Can Keep His Solar Panels Under One Condition

The HOA told Mr. Betancourt that they would consider approving his solar panels. However, he has to cover them from view with a screen. Betancourt says that the request is ridiculous since the panels won’t function when covered.

Source: Wikimedia/Jan Ronge

The association also mentioned that they may approve solar shingles. These look like regular roofs but generate electricity. However, they’re expensive and impossible for Mr. Betancourt to buy.

Betancourt Doesn’t Want To Go To Court

Despite his defiance, Mr. Betancourt doesn’t want to go to court. He aims to end the issue as peacefully as possible. One way is with his recent landscaping plan for the solar panels. It may work.

Source: Pixabay/Ilona Ilyes

The plan involves planting some trees that grow fast. When he transfers them to his backyard, these trees will keep the panels out of sight. But will this work? He has already submitted his proposal to the HOA. However, the association hasn’t replied yet.