I need to replace my roof. I want to use steel shingles -- does federal law preempt my HOA's restrictions on roofing materials?

Asked by Christy
Tallahassee, FL

My homeowners' association requires my roof replacement to look like the rest of the roofs in my neighborhood, but I would like to use an Energy Star qualified alternative such as steel shingles. I thought there was a recent federal law that allows for preemption of HOA/local laws when using green materials. Is this the case?


Evan Little

Answered by Evan Little

Newport Beach, CA

Surterre Properties Inc

September 12, 2010

Hi Christy,

Contact the roof material manufacturer. They paid the extra money and took the time to get their product Energy Star qualified and stand to gain financially from this predicament. Their website may even have specs about this topic under their "green" or "FAQ" section.

To my knowledge, this law will not help you in your case for a new steel shingled roof.

  • I'm only aware of the state laws, not federal, that prevent HOAs from not allowing a renewable energy source like a solar system.  
  • In Florida, this law is known as Section 163.04.  The Florida Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation has published an overview here

Even with this state legislation it's often still a headache to work with HOAs when installing a solar system in unfriendly territory.

It's best to act tactfully in this situation and bring the HOA board along for a positive educational experience instead of trying to win an "I told you so" type of battle. Often solar installers are willing to hold workshops for HOAs, which saves the board the time of having to look into it themselves.

For more information:

Read Carl Seville's Q&A "What's the best affordable sustainable siding option? Any thoughts on roofing materials and gutters?"

Tagged In: roofing, metal roofing, aesthetics

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