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Homeowner vs. HOA solar panel dispute heads to Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis homeowner is fighting his neighborhood’s homeowner’s association (HOA), which is attempting to prohibit the installation of solar panels on his home despite there being no written rules against it.

From the street, you can see a small portion of the solar panels installed on Anthony Fazio’s home. This is his first house, and adding solar panels is something he had always planned on doing.

“Ever since I knew that homeownership was a possibility for me, I was like, ‘I’m getting solar panels — that is happening,’” said Fazio.

When the contractor started the installation, Fazio got a letter in the mail from the HOA.

“I got a letter in the mail saying, ‘Hey you need to remove these — you need to remove the solar panels,’” said Fazio.

When Fazio bought the house, he did the research on the neighborhood — there is nothing in the HOA bylaws that restrict or prohibit solar panels. 

He continued with the installation and took his case to the HOA annual meeting, where he says the board had agreed to wait on a final ruling until state lawmakers had a chance to hear proposed legislation that would prevent HOAs from excluding solar panels. 

Fazio says his HOA sent him another letter this weekend demanding the panels come down. 

“I got a letter in the mail — ‘You have until Dec. 3 to remove these solar panels or reach out to us to come to a negotiation,’ which is effectively ‘Remove the solar panels or we are going to take you to court (and) you will be liable for all the legal fees,” he said.  

He says the issue is purely aesthetic. Fazio has collected close to 50 signatures from neighbors in support of his cause.  

“I have spoken with my neighbors, and they love the way they look. They are like, “That looks great — I would love to get them myself,’” said Fazio.

Whether the solar panels will be allowed to stay in place or not will be decided by the Indiana General Assembly.