The HOA Bill for Homeowners’ Associations HOA’s have the ability to make a strong impact in establishing more energy efficient and sustainable communities within Colorado. This page includes information about The Homeowners' Association (HOA) Bill for HOA's. Read about the implications of the law, and how you can best use the law in this section. The Basics The law went into effect on August 6, 2008 HOA’s are not allowed to prohibit the installation or use of renewable energy devices or energy efficiency measures within their communities based upon aesthetic rules and restrictions. Residential and commercial property owners have the legal right to erect and use renewable energy generation devices on property they own. These include: o Photovoltaic (PV) solar electric panels o Solar thermal systems (solar water heaters) o Solar lighting systems o Wind electric generators Residential property owners also have the right to install and use energy efficiency measures on property they own. These include: o Awnings, shutters, trellis, ramadas, or other energy reducing shade structures o Garage or attic fans o Evaporative coolers o Energy-efficient outdoor lighting o Retractable clotheslines Any and all of these devices and measures must meet all building code, electrical and bona fide safety requirements. The Details Regarding Renewable Energy Devices The right to install solar energy devices and wind-electric generators on private property is protected by Colorado law as a matter of public policy. Any solar energy device or wind-electric generator you install on your property must meet all applicable safety, building code and electrical requirements. Wind-electric generators must also meet the rules of C.R.S. 40-2-124 from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Wind-electric generators may be required to meet reasonable noise restrictions in residential areas. Residential property owners do not have the right to erect or install renewable energy devices or energy efficiency measures on limited or general common elements of the Common Interest Community(CIC). This is particularly important for condominium and town home communities, where residents may not own the exterior of their units. Unreasonable restrictions on renewable energy devices are void and unenforceable. This law overrides any covenants, restrictions, or conditions contained in any deed contract, security instrument or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property (residential or commercial) that attempts to restrict or prohibit the installation of solar energy devices and wind-electric generators. HOA’s can impose reasonable restrictions on the dimensions, placement and external appearance of the renewable energy device. However, an HOA/CIC cannot: o Prohibit the installation or use of a renewable energy device. o Significantly increase the cost of installation or use of the renewable energy device. o Significantly decrease its performance or efficiency Regarding Energy Efficiency Measures Residential property owners within CIC’s or HOA’s have a legal right to install energy- efficient measures on property they own. The law protects a residential property owner’s right to install: o Awnings, shutters, trellis, ramada, or other energy reducing shade structures o Garage or attic fans o Evaporative coolers o Energy-efficient outdoor lighting o Retractable clotheslines The law supercedes any provision in the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations of an HOA/CIC. HOA/CIC rules and regulations cannot prohibit the installation of energy efficiency measures. Any impact on purchase price, operation costs and performance of the energy efficiency measure that HOA/CIC aesthetic rules have must be considered. Residents do not have the right to install energy efficiency measures on limited or general common elements of the HOA/CIC or on property owned by someone else. This is particularly important for condominium and town home communities, where residents may not own the exterior of their units. Next Steps Learn as much as you can about Colorado state and municipal laws dealing with solar, wind and other energy efficient devices and measures. Refer to the Energy Policy & Legislation section of this website. Access a complete copy of HB 08-1270 in the 2008 Legislation section. Refer to the Additional Resources section of this website. Become familiar with the common and limited common elements of your HOA/CIC. Clarify with property owners what areas of your association are considered limited or common element property. Read and revise your HOA/CIC rules and regulations. This law supercedes any provisions or restrictions within your HOA/CIC governing documents. Some of your aesthetic restrictions may need to be revised and rewritten. Work with home and property owners on their projects early on. Refer them to the HOA Bill section of this website. Create reasonable aesthetic restrictions that are in accordance with the law, taking into account any detrimental effects they may have on an renewable energy device or energy efficiency measure’s performance, cost, and efficiency. Make sure your association’s members are informed of their rights and options as well as the HOA’s/CIC’s rules and regulations. Refer them to the HOA Bill section of this website. Request accurate and detailed plans/proposals for renewable energy device installation and energy efficiency measures. Facilitate open dialogue with property owners and work together with them to make ensure that projects meet the reasonable aesthetic provisions of your association. Solicit, when reasonable, digital renderings of the project before and after installation. Avoid any unnecessary legal action. Only as a last resort should you go to court over an HOA/CIC rule or regulation prohibiting your project.
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