2008 LEGISLATIVE UPDATE -- PART
CONDOMINIUMS AND SOLAR ENERGY
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the new form which must be signed
by persons who wish to be candidates for condominium board positions.
In Part 2 we discussed the new insurance laws which apply to condominiums.
For many years, homeowners associations have had to comply with Section
163.04, Florida Statutes, and permit owners to install energy devices based
on renewable resources (e.g clotheslines, solar panels, etc.). On
the other hand, the words “solar energy” and “condominiums” have typically
not been used in the same sentence. As a result of the 2006
case of a Sorrentino v. River Run Condominium Association, this has now
In the Sorrentino case, the owners of a condominium unit installed two
tubular skylights through the common element roof without first obtaining
the approval of the association as required by Section 718.113.
Not surprisingly, the association sued to have the skylights removed.
Surprisingly, the Fifth District Court of Appeals found that skylights
were energy saving devices protected by Section 163.04 and that Section
163.04 superseded Section 718.113's requirement to obtain the association’s
approval to alter the common element roof.
As a result of the Sorrentino decision, the Florida Legislature amended
the following relevant portions of Sections 163.04 and 718.113 to ensure
that condominium associations still control the common elements but, at
the same time, to confirm that it believes in the use of solar energy,
even at condominiums:
163.04 Energy devices based on renewable resources. --
..... A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors
or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any
deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to
approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect
to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit...
718.113 Maintenance; limitation
upon improvements; display of flag; hurricane shutters; display of religious
the provisions of this section or the governing documents of a condominium
or a multicondominium association, the board of administration may, without
any requirement for approval of the unit owners, install upon or within
the common elements or association property solar collectors, clotheslines,
or other energy-efficient devices based on renewable resources for the
benefit of the unit owners.
Therefore, from and after July 1, 2008, no owner may install energy saving
devices upon, within or through the common elements without first obtaining
the approvals required by Section 718.113 for material alterations to the
On the other hand, the board is now given the power to install solar collectors,
clotheslines, or other energy-efficient devices upon or within the common
elements or association property for the benefit of the unit owners and
may do so without having to obtain the approval of any unit owners.
Only time will tell whether we will see more energy saving devices at condominiums
or whether the above legislative changes will merely stop another Sorrentino
case from occurring.
The firm of Taylor &
Carls, P.A., with offices located in Maitland, Clearwater and Palm Coast,
Florida, was founded in 1981 and has practiced in the area of community
association law since that date. This edition was prepared by Robert
L. Taylor, Esq. of Taylor & Carls, P.A. The information contained
in The Association e-Lawyer should not be acted upon without professional
legal advice. The opinions expressed herein are as of the date hereof,
and this law firm undertakes no obligation to advise the Association of
subsequent changes in the law.
©2008 Taylor & Carls,
P.A. All Rights Reserved.
The firm can be reached Toll
Free at 1-800-395-6235 or locally at 407-660-1040.
To unsubscribe to this service,
please reply to this address
stating your desire to be
removed from our distribution list.