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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 2918

as introduced - 88th Legislature (2013 - 2014) Posted on 03/10/2014 01:19pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to real property; prohibiting certain restrictions on the use of residential
solar energy systems;amending Minnesota Statutes 2012, sections 515.07;
515B.2-103; 515B.3-102; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes,
chapter 500.


Section 1.


Subdivision 1.

General rule.

(a) A private entity may not prohibit or refuse to
permit installation, maintenance, or use of a roof-mounted solar energy system by the
owner of a single-family house or townhouse.

(b) A covenant, restriction, or condition contained in a deed, security instrument,
homeowners association document, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or
an interest in, real property that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the owner of a
single-family house or townhouse from installing, maintaining, or using a roof-mounted
solar energy system is void and unenforceable.

Subd. 2.


(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.

(b) "Private entity" means a homeowners association, community association,
planned community, or any other nongovernmental entity.

(c) "Homeowners association document" means a document containing the
declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, or rules and regulations of:

(1) a common interest community, as defined in section 515B.1-103, regardless of
whether the common interest community is subject to chapter 515B; and

(2) a residential community that is not a common interest community.

(d) "Significantly" means:

(1) for a solar water heating installation, an amount exceeding 20 percent above the
system cost as originally specified and proposed, or a decrease in the system's expected
production by more than 20 percent; and

(2) for a solar photovoltaic installation, an amount exceeding $2,000 above the
system cost as originally specified and proposed, or a decrease in the system-expected
production by more than 20 percent.

(e) "Solar energy system" means a set of devices whose primary purpose is to collect
solar energy and convert and store it for useful purposes, including heating and cooling
buildings or other energy-using processes, or to produce generated power by means of any
combination of collecting, transferring, or converting solar-generated energy.

(f) "Townhouse" means any single-family dwelling unit in which:

(1) unit boundaries are boundaries of plotted lots and there are no upper or lower
boundaries; and

(2) the owner of the unit is responsible for maintenance, repair, and replacement of
the unit's roof.

Subd. 3.

Allowable conditions.

(a) This section does not prohibit a private entity
from requiring that:

(1) a licensed contractor install a solar energy system;

(2) a roof-mounted solar energy system not extend above the peak or beyond the
edge of the roof;

(3) the owner or installer of a solar energy system indemnify or reimburse the private
entity or its members for loss or damage caused by the installation, maintenance, use,
repair, or removal of a solar energy system;

(4) the owner and each successive owner of a solar energy system list the private
entity as a certificate holder on the homeowner's insurance policy; or

(5) the owner and each successive owner of a solar energy system be responsible for
removing the system if reasonably necessary for the repair, maintenance, or replacement
of common elements or limited common elements, as defined in section 515B.1-103.

(b) A private entity may impose other reasonable restrictions on the installation,
maintenance, or use of solar energy systems, provided that those restrictions do not
significantly increase the cost of the system or significantly decrease its expected

(c) A solar energy system must meet applicable standards and requirements imposed
by the state and by governmental units, as defined in section 462.384.

(d) A solar energy system for heating water must be certified by the Solar
Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or other nationally recognized certification
agency. A solar energy system for producing electricity must meet all applicable safety
and performance standards established by the National Electrical Code, the Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and accredited testing laboratories, such as
Underwriters Laboratories and, where applicable, rules of the Public Utilities Commission
regarding safety and reliability.

(e) Whenever approval by a private entity is required for the installation or use of
a solar energy system, the application for approval must be processed and approved in
the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the
property, and must not be willfully avoided or delayed. A private entity shall approve or
deny an application in writing. If an application is not denied in writing within 60 days
from the date of receipt of the application, the application is deemed approved unless the
delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 515.07, is amended to read:


Each apartment owner shall comply strictly with the bylaws and with the
administrative rules adopted pursuant thereto, as either of the same may be lawfully
amended from time to time, and with the covenants, conditions, and restrictions set forth in
the declaration or in the owner's deed to the apartment. Failure to comply with any of the
same shall be ground for an action to recover sums due, for damages or injunctive relief or
both maintainable by the manager or board of directors on behalf of the association of
apartment owners or, in a proper case, by an aggrieved apartment owner. This chapter is
subject to section sections 500.215 and 500.216.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 515B.2-103, is amended to read:


(a) All provisions of the declaration and bylaws are severable.

(b) The rule against perpetuities may not be applied to defeat any provision of
the declaration or this chapter, or any instrument executed pursuant to the declaration
or this chapter.

(c) In the event of a conflict between the provisions of the declaration and the
bylaws, the declaration prevails except to the extent that the declaration is inconsistent
with this chapter.

(d) The declaration and bylaws must comply with section sections 500.215 and

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 515B.3-102, is amended to read:


(a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), and subject to the provisions of the
declaration or bylaws, the association shall have the power to:

(1) adopt, amend and revoke rules and regulations not inconsistent with the articles
of incorporation, bylaws and declaration, as follows: (i) regulating the use of the common
elements; (ii) regulating the use of the units, and conduct of unit occupants, which may
jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of other occupants, which involves noise or
other disturbing activity, or which may damage the common elements or other units;
(iii) regulating or prohibiting animals; (iv) regulating changes in the appearance of the
common elements and conduct which may damage the common interest community;
(v) regulating the exterior appearance of the common interest community, including,
for example, balconies and patios, window treatments, and signs and other displays,
regardless of whether inside a unit; (vi) implementing the articles of incorporation,
declaration and bylaws, and exercising the powers granted by this section; and (vii)
otherwise facilitating the operation of the common interest community;

(2) adopt and amend budgets for revenues, expenditures and reserves, and levy and
collect assessments for common expenses from unit owners;

(3) hire and discharge managing agents and other employees, agents, and
independent contractors;

(4) institute, defend, or intervene in litigation or administrative proceedings (i) in
its own name on behalf of itself or two or more unit owners on matters affecting the
common elements or other matters affecting the common interest community or, (ii) with
the consent of the owners of the affected units on matters affecting only those units;

(5) make contracts and incur liabilities;

(6) regulate the use, maintenance, repair, replacement, and modification of the
common elements and the units;

(7) cause improvements to be made as a part of the common elements, and, in the
case of a cooperative, the units;

(8) acquire, hold, encumber, and convey in its own name any right, title, or interest
to real estate or personal property, but (i) common elements in a condominium or planned
community may be conveyed or subjected to a security interest only pursuant to section
515B.3-112, or (ii) part of a cooperative may be conveyed, or all or part of a cooperative
may be subjected to a security interest, only pursuant to section 515B.3-112;

(9) grant or amend easements for public utilities, public rights-of-way or other
public purposes, and cable television or other communications, through, over or under
the common elements; grant or amend easements, leases, or licenses to unit owners for
purposes authorized by the declaration; and, subject to approval by a vote of unit owners
other than declarant or its affiliates, grant or amend other easements, leases, and licenses
through, over or under the common elements;

(10) impose and receive any payments, fees, or charges for the use, rental, or
operation of the common elements, other than limited common elements, and for services
provided to unit owners;

(11) impose interest and late charges for late payment of assessments and, after
notice and an opportunity to be heard before the board or a committee appointed by it,
levy reasonable fines for violations of the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations
of the association;

(12) impose reasonable charges for the review, preparation and recordation of
amendments to the declaration, resale certificates required by section 515B.4-107,
statements of unpaid assessments, or furnishing copies of association records;

(13) provide for the indemnification of its officers and directors, and maintain
directors' and officers' liability insurance;

(14) provide for reasonable procedures governing the conduct of meetings and
election of directors;

(15) exercise any other powers conferred by law, or by the declaration, articles
of incorporation or bylaws; and

(16) exercise any other powers necessary and proper for the governance and
operation of the association.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) the declaration or bylaws may not impose
limitations on the power of the association to deal with the declarant which are more
restrictive than the limitations imposed on the power of the association to deal with other

(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a), powers exercised under this section must comply
with section sections 500.215 and 500.216.