Solar panels are appearing on the roofs of many houses and on business premises. House and Business owners can benefit from lower electricity bills and sell their unused electricity to the energy supplier. But there are matters that can affect the sale of the property later that need to be considered:
• Planning permission – This is not usually required but there are exceptions. For example - listed buildings, properties in conservation areas where panels will be visible from a highway or watercourse, properties located in areas where an earlier planning permission has removed permitted developments rights, business premises where they affect the external appearance , and offices if they are above the ground floor level
• Building regulations – you must either get building regulations approval or use the ‘competent person scheme’. But do remember to ensure the contractor gives you the certificates under Parts A, B, C and P as you will need to produce these when you sell or dispose of the property
• Covenants – you will need to check the title to the property as you may need consent for any alterations
• Insurance - You must tell your insurance company, and if you have a mortgage your lender.
• You must make sure your estate agent mentions the panels in the particulars and your solicitor includes a clause in the contract
• Leasehold – you will need permission in writing from the Landlord
There are 2 ways to obtain the panels - buy outright or lease arrangement. The lease arrangement can cause serious problems selling the house or premises. It is very important to obtain some legal advice from a Commercial solicitor before proceeding (even for private houses).
The lease is a business lease. Most lenders are refusing to provide mortgages. At the very least they would want a break clause in the lease. Also there must be steps taken to ‘contract out’ of an automatic renewal of the lease.