State Law Prohibits HOAs from Forbidding Solar Heat

Question: Under the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions governing our Mesa homeowners association, no solar heating can be installed without the approval of the architectural committee. The architectural committee has disapproved requests from individual homeowners who want to install solar heating. We want to install solar heating. A real-estate broker told us that under Arizona law, the CC&Rs cannot prohibit the installation of solar heating. How should we proceed?

Answer: Under Arizona law, any language in the CC&Rs that “effectively prohibits the installation or use” of solar heating is generally unenforceable. The CC&Rs, however, can reasonably regulate the installation of solar heating — that is, prohibit installation of solar heating panels in the front yards of individual homeowners.

If the architectural committee is acting unreasonably in disapproving your request for the installation of solar heating, the architectural committee is violating Arizona law. You should contact an attorney to seek injunctive relief from a judge requiring the architectural committee to act reasonably in approving your solar heating.

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