Q: I want to install an energy saving device on my roof that will provide day lighting in my home by natural sunlight. The HOA Board in my community has indicated that this will be voted down if I proceed if I seek formal permission. I believe there is a law in Florida prohibiting the HOA Board from outright refusing this device. If the HOA Board does in fact refuse my request, what are my legal options?
A: You are correct that Florida law does prohibit your HOA’s Board from outright denying permission to install this type of device. Even if the community covenants and restrictions give the HOA the right to deny exterior alterations and improvements, the HOA must allow this type of device under a special exception in the Florida law. The HOA can adopt a rule requiring the device to be installed in a particular location or at a particular angle that is aesthetically less offensive, but the device is allowed regardless of the HOA’s recorded covenants.
The same concept applies to standard dishes that allow homeowners to receive a television signal by satellite. The best course of action for the HOA is to be aware of these special laws for such alternative devices and adopt clear criteria regarding acceptable locations so that there is little guesswork required when owners seek permission from the HOA.