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Ohio S.B. 61 Adds Protections for Solar Panels on Condominium and Planned Community Homes

Senate Bill 61, signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine in June, goes into effect on September 13, 2022. The bill allows homeowners and condominium owners who are subject to Homeowners Association (“HOA”) and Condominium Owners Association (“COA”) rules and regulations to install solar panels to roofs and other designated locations within their lot or on their unit with less interference by the HOA or COA.

Once in effect, unless the HOA or COA declaration specifically prohibits solar panels1, homeowners and condominium owners may install solar panels or solar energy collection devices, subject to certain conditions described below. Previously, Ohio law permitted HOAs and COAs to broadly restrict the ability of homeowners to go solar.

Conditions for Homeowners Associations: Unless specifically prohibited by the declaration, homeowners may place solar panels on a roof or other location within the homeowner’s lot if either condition applies: (1) the owner is responsible for “the cost to insure, maintain, repair, and replace”2 the roof or other location within the lot or (2) the declaration specifically allows for and regulates solar panels and “establishes responsibility for the cost to insure, maintain, repair, and replace such devices.”3

Conditions for Condominium Owners Associations: The provision relating to COAs is mirrored from the HOA provisions and establishes that unless specifically prohibited by the declaration, condominium owners may place solar panels on a roof if either condition applies: (1) the unit, as defined by the declaration, includes the roof and the owner is responsible for “the cost to insure, maintain, repair, and replace”the roof or (2) the declaration specifically allows for and regulates solar panels and “establishes responsibility for the cost to insure, maintain, repair, and replace such devices.”5 Condominium owners that have units directly below or above their unit are specifically excluded from installing solar panels.

A goal of the supporters of the bill was to ensure greater access to solar panels with fewer restrictions placed on homeowners by HOAs and COAs in Ohio. The law does this by restricting HOAs and COAs from placing unfair restrictions on homeowners by only allowing “reasonable restrictions concerning the size, place and manner of placement”6 of solar panels and solar energy collection devices. The “reasonable restrictions” may vary and look different for each community.

In conclusion, Senate Bill 61 significantly expands homeowner’s and condominium owners' rights to install and benefit from solar energy while allowing homeowner associations and condominium owner associations authority to restrict the “size, place and manner of placement” in a reasonable manner.

1 S.B. 61 § 5311.192 (A); S.B. 61 § 5312.16. (A)
2 S.B. 61 § 5312.16(A)(1)
3 S.B. 61 § 5312.16(A)(2)
4 S.B. 61 § 5311.192 (A)(1)
5 S.B. 61 § 5311.192 (A)(2)
6 S.B. 61 § 5311.192 (B); S.B. 61 § 5312.16(B)

Abigail Burke also contributed to this article.

©2022 Roetzel & AndressNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 230
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About this Author

Lauren M. Zidones Attorney Real Estate Roetzel and Andress Akron
Associate

Lauren focuses her practice on commercial real estate and general business law. She counsels buyers and sellers of real estate, homeowner associations and condominium associations, landlords and tenants, and real estate developers. In addition, she advises for-profit and non-profit entities on entity selection, formation, and corporate governance matters.

EXPERIENCE

  • Negotiates commercial real estate purchase agreements to maximize interests and reduce risks on behalf of the client

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330-800-9266
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