If you purchase solar panels there are usually no issues when you come to sell your property, provided you have all the necessary supplier guarantees and building regulation certificates and, you have purchased the solar panels outright. Full steam ahead for you and your conveyancing solicitor!
However, many solar panels are marketed on a ‘free’ model. Essentially, the supplier agrees to install the solar panels free of charge in return for a lease over the roof space of your property. In return, the property owner get free electricity. Sounds like a win-win situation for the supplier, the owner and the environment doesn’t it? Well, not quite…..
The generosity of the supplier largely springs from the financial benefit they receive from payments from the ‘Feed in Tariff Scheme’ introduced in 2010. Usually these leases are for a 25 year period and crucially contain a buy out clause to terminate the lease. The cost to the property owner to buy out of the lease is usually £15,000 – £25,000, depending on the size of the roof and the length of the remaining term of the lease.
If you enter into such a lease, this causes a potential problem when you want to sell your house during the life time of the lease. Unless you are able to ‘buy out’ of the lease, it encumbers the property and any successor in title to the property, thus any mortgage lender is unlikely to lend to a potential buyer. Clearly, this will have an impact on the marketability of your property and may cause a stumbling block for seller or buyer alike.
The advantages of low energy bills and the benefits of renewable energy are immeasurable. But, to ensure you don’t get burned by your own solar panels, why not consult a solicitor before entering into any solar panel agreement. Or, if you already have an agreement with a solar panel supplier, why not consult a solicitor before you put your house on the market for advice on the lease. This needn’t be expensive and can avoid costly and stressful pitfalls and delays when you have found your buyer and are ready to move.
If you need more advice regarding agreements relating to your property or, if you are selling or buying a property with solar panels and require advice or re-assurance, please do not hesitate to contact Kerry Wigg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01787 827 583.