If you are considering installing solar energy collection devices (commonly known as "solar panels") at your residence, you may soon need to think again. As a result of a Bill that passed in this year's General Assembly, several real property statutes will, as of July 1, 2013, have new provisions relating to solar panels.
Community associations will be able to adopt reasonable regulations as to the size, location and manner of placement of solar panels on property designated and intended for individual ownership and use.
If a property is subject to the Virginia Property Owners' Association Act, the association's disclosure packet to a purchaser will be required to contain a statement setting forth "any restriction, limitation or prohibition on the right of a lot owner to install or use solar energy collection devices on the owner's property."
Likewise, a disclaimer under the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act, by which the seller of residential property is required to either disclose or not disclose (i.e, disclaim) conditions and matters related to the particular property being sold, must contain a specific statement that "the owner makes no representations with respect to any right to install or use solar energy collection devices on the property."
Additionally, the resale certificate required under the Virginia Condominium Act in the sale of a condominium unit will now include "a statement setting forth any restriction, limitation or prohibition on the right of a unit owner to install or use solar energy collection devices on the unit owner's property."