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  • FIRST POST
    • iscamaid
    • By iscamaid 14th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
    • 268Posts
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    iscamaid
    selling a house with solar panels fitted under rent a roof scheme
    • #1
    • 14th Jul 17, 8:18 PM
    selling a house with solar panels fitted under rent a roof scheme 14th Jul 17 at 8:18 PM
    We had solar panels fitted in 2012 from Homesun under the free rent a roof scheme. They are now administered by Anesco we believe. We want to sell our house in the next couple of years and realise just how difficult it will be. Has anyone had similar problems - the cost of buying them out seems excessive now the feed in tariff is so low. I would love to just remove them but don't know the legal implications. I am even wondering about hiring a solicitor to enquire about getting out of the contract. Any advice at all please on this. Please don't judge - at the time I thought this was a great green scheme and now regret it bitterly.
Page 1
    • TrickyDicky101
    • By TrickyDicky101 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    • 2,801 Posts
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    TrickyDicky101
    • #2
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    If you had the panels fitted in 2012 then the FIT won't be at a low rate (the particular banding is set effectively at the installation date so what FIT rate is available now (or not) does not impact what 'your' panels will be earning).
    • Spazter
    • By Spazter 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Spazter
    • #3
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:46 PM
    We bought a house in March that has the rent a roof solar panels fitted.

    Ours are from A Shade Greener and we had no problems other than ensuring the mortgage company would lend on a house with rent a roof scheme, that the company who owned them was up to the standards required and we had a bit of delay while the solicitors got all the info and paperwork signed over to us. It only delayed by a couple of weeks.

    We get the benefit of free electric during the day and to us buying a house with solar panels.....despite all the scare stories I'd read.... it didn't put us off buying at all.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 14th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    • 416 Posts
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    ProDave
    • #4
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    If you buy them out, you get the original contract and the original FIT rate (now over 50p per unit) transfered to you for the remainder of the original 25 year FIT contract. That may be worth doing, look at how much they want to buy out the contract and compare it to what it's likely to pay over the remaining period. Make sure it's done properly. They can assign the existing contract to anybody they like, but the panels must stay with that house (more strictly with the MPAN of your electricity meter) You can't start a new FIT with second hand panels.

    To sell the house with them in situ on the rent a roof you may find it devalues the house. In theory if you have the contract and the FIT it should add value to the house, but only if the buyer understands the income he is likely to get. But even that is not a given. A friend of mine nearly bought a house with solar PV and the FIT contract. I advised her it was a good deal and she should buy the house, but the surveyor warned the roof structure may have been compromised and could not be guaranteed so she pulled out of the purchase.

    You would have to look at the rent a roof contract you signed to see what other options you have to end their contract. Perhaps if there is a terminate clause, that may make them offer you a more attractive buy out option.

    I will be interested to see how this pans out, and from a slightly selfish point of view I personally would be interested to buy a set of second hand panels for a non FIT application if they do get decomissioned.
    • macman
    • By macman 14th Jul 17, 10:23 PM
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    macman
    • #5
    • 14th Jul 17, 10:23 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Jul 17, 10:23 PM
    They are not your property to remove-doing so would render you liable to be sued by the administrators for both the value of the panels, and the FITS revenue. There is no other way out of the contract other than buying it out, unless the other party agrees to void it without penalty-and why would they do that?
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 14th Jul 17, 11:04 PM
    • 720 Posts
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    sevenhills
    • #6
    • 14th Jul 17, 11:04 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jul 17, 11:04 PM
    To sell the house with them in situ on the rent a roof you may find it devalues the house..
    Originally posted by ProDave
    If you find a buyer that does not mind the look of the panels, why would £100/£200 worth of free electricity put them off?
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Jul 17, 9:31 AM
    • 5,439 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #7
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:31 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:31 AM
    If you find a buyer that does not mind the look of the panels, why would £100/£200 worth of free electricity put them off?
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    It tends to be the mortgage lenders who are wary of these schemes, and may refuse to lend.

    As a minimum, the lease for the roof needs to be comply with 'Council of Mortgage lenders' guidelines.

    If the lease isn't currently compliant, you have to ask the solar panel company if they would agree to change it.


    The key change that's often required is a clause saying that if the house is repossessed, the solar panel agreement terminates. (I guess the solar panel company would then lose money, so they may not be keen to add this clause.)
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 15th Jul 17, 9:34 AM
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    sevenhills
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:34 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:34 AM
    I am doing a RTB and I have solar panels, no issues have come up, I have a mortgage offer, just waiting for searches.
    • Glover1862
    • By Glover1862 15th Jul 17, 9:44 AM
    • 212 Posts
    • 118 Thanks
    Glover1862
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:44 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Jul 17, 9:44 AM
    Yes, but are they rent a roof?
    • iscamaid
    • By iscamaid 15th Jul 17, 9:44 AM
    • 268 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    iscamaid
    Huge thanks for all the advice here. I have been thinking about moving for a while but have only been half looking as very little is coming on the market (I think it is the Brexit Effect). I was told by a colleague who has just sold she was warned by her solicitor not to purchase a house she was interested in because it had solar panels fitted under a rent a roof scheme. This scared me.

    I think my first action will be to contact the company who own the contract now and ask them to provide me with information for any prospective buyer. Your advice here means I am armed with the right questions to ask. Once I get this information I might pay for a conveyancer to look at it and get everything in order to speed the process up should I ever find my dream home to move to. PLEASE keep adding to this thread, any help and advice is very helpful. I will carry on posting with information as I find it - there must have been many thousands of homeowners who had panels fitted under this scheme who 5-6 years later are moving home...
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Jul 17, 10:15 AM
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    eddddy
    Once I get this information I might pay for a conveyancer to look at it and get everything in order to speed the process up should I ever find my dream home to move to.
    Originally posted by iscamaid
    It's more of a mortgage related issue than a conveyancing issue.

    A strategy I've used when selling a property that may be difficult to mortgage (for other reasons) is to contact one or two mortgage brokers, and say something like...

    "I've going to be selling a property with solar panels. Do you have experience in getting mortgages for such properties? If so, can I pass your name on to prospective buyers?"

    And ask them general questions about how easy/difficult it is to get a mortgage. (But they're all likely to say they can arrange a mortgage - try to find one who's actually done it.)
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 15th Jul 17, 11:37 AM
    • 720 Posts
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    sevenhills
    Yes, but are they rent a roof?
    Originally posted by Glover1862
    I believe it is based on those principles, never really had much information about it. I am now finding out that the council own the panels, and the ownership of the panels will transfer to me, upon sale, which did surprise me.
    Most streets you look at, someone has solar panels, so they are popular, in a small way.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 15th Jul 17, 11:40 AM
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    • 256 Thanks
    sevenhills
    It's more of a mortgage related issue than a conveyancing issue.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    I have been offered a mortgage, not a problem. Its just a matter of future owners being happy with panels that could limit a loft bedroom and roof repairs, or more commonly, people just dont like the look of them.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Jul 17, 11:53 AM
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    eddddy
    I am now finding out that the council own the panels, and the ownership of the panels will transfer to me, upon sale, which did surprise me.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    So that's completely different - and no problem. You will own the roof and your will own the solar panels. You can do whatever you like with them.


    The problem arises when you lease your roof to a company (in legal terms, they are then your commercial tenant) and that company puts their solar panels on your roof.

    You then have to sell your house with a commercial tenant on your roof - because you cannot end the lease.

    Mortgage lenders can be very fussy about lending on a property with a commercial tenant.

    (Conceptually, the concerns might be similar if you were selling a house with a commercial tenant in the dining room - who you could not get rid of. They would be staying even after the property is sold.)
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 15th Jul 17, 12:27 PM
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    sevenhills
    You then have to sell your house with a commercial tenant on your roof - because you cannot end the lease.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    I dont think they have even asked about the panels, why would they, so long as the purchaser is ok with it.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Jul 17, 12:55 PM
    • 5,439 Posts
    • 5,116 Thanks
    eddddy
    I dont think they have even asked about the panels, why would they, so long as the purchaser is ok with it.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Hmmm - you're beginning to sound a lot like you're messing about.

    Anyway, the OP has a challenge because they have leased out their roof.

    You appear to have no challenge with the property you're buying, because nobody has leased out the roof.
    • iscamaid
    • By iscamaid 15th Jul 17, 1:23 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    iscamaid
    I have been offered a mortgage, not a problem. Its just a matter of future owners being happy with panels that could limit a loft bedroom and roof repairs, or more commonly, people just dont like the look of them.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Luckily ours is a pent roof and the panels are on the side of the property- you cannot see them from front or back only if you walk down the road and crane your neck. There are about 6 houses along our road with panels so mine does not stand out at all. There were problems initially when Homesun fitted them as they broke a number of tiles, we stuck to our guns and after a number of complaints they replaced the entire side of the roof with new tiles and felt so I know structurally it is sound. As the house is a 1960s house I don't think there is an aesthetic problem - though I certainly understand they don't always suit period properties. As it is 5 years since fit and heating costs have increased dramatically since then its hard to tell just how much we are saving. We have a detached 5 bed and pay about £35 a month for our electric - so I think we must save just over £200 a year through the panels.
    Last edited by iscamaid; 15-07-2017 at 1:25 PM.
    • iscamaid
    • By iscamaid 15th Jul 17, 1:35 PM
    • 268 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    iscamaid
    It's more of a mortgage related issue than a conveyancing issue.

    A strategy I've used when selling a property that may be difficult to mortgage (for other reasons) is to contact one or two mortgage brokers, and say something like...

    "I've going to be selling a property with solar panels. Do you have experience in getting mortgages for such properties? If so, can I pass your name on to prospective buyers?"

    And ask them general questions about how easy/difficult it is to get a mortgage. (But they're all likely to say they can arrange a mortgage - try to find one who's actually done it.)
    Originally posted by eddddy
    I have contacted my mortgage broker and he said that there are a number who will mortgage houses with rent a roof, he said there were problems with brokers a few years ago but as solar is slowly increasing this is decreasing. I also spoke to an estate agent who says that he has sold a few with rent a roof scheme and it does make the process longer but is not a significant problem. I wonder why my colleague hit such a response from her solicitor? I am still determined to try and get an information pack ready on it myself and research rather than trusting to luck when we do decide to sell. Perhaps I should ask the broker for names of firms which have no problems with this scheme?
    • iscamaid
    • By iscamaid 17th Jul 17, 11:55 AM
    • 268 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    iscamaid
    Ok, I contacted Anesco who are now managing the Homesun contracts. they appeared to be very clued up on house sales and I asked a number of questions around the terms and buying out the PV array:

    Good Morning,

    Many thanks for your below email.

    We can confirm the lease for the PV system transfers automatically upon completion of the sale. The only requirement Homesun have when a property subject to their solar lease is sold, is that the new homeowner completes a new homeowner pro-forma form (attached) and returns this along with the updated Land Registry title deeds showing proof of ownership.

    Please send these documents for my attention to the below address:

    Homesun Limited
    C/O Unit 9
    The Green
    Easter Park
    Benyon Road
    Reading
    RG7 2PQ

    Once in receipt of these documents, we shall update our records accordingly.

    In order to terminate the lease agreement and become the legal owner of the system the PV System Purchase Price must be paid.

    The PV System Purchase Price is calculated in accordance with clause 2.7 of the lease agreement, the calculation is broken down below:

    PV System The price to be paid to purchase the PV System from the Tenant calculated in accordance with the following formula: Purchase Price

    303-x x y = p
    303

    Where
    x = number of months which will have passed since the Term Commencement Date at the Break Date
    y =£17,200.00 (seventeen thousand two hundred pounds only) Plus VAT
    p = PV System Purchase Price

    Therefore:

    X = 77
    Y = £17,200.00
    P = £12,829.04

    Total (Inc. VAT) = £15,394.85

    This is subject to serving the correct written notice in accordance with clause 2.7 of not less than 3 months and not more than 6 months. Please note that notice and payment must be served on the same day.

    Once payment has been received we shall instruct Homesun’s external solicitors to close the leasehold title at the Land Registry.

    If you wish to proceed with the PV system buyback, please notify me and I shall provide you with an invoice and the relevant documentation.

    If you would like to have the panels removed, the PV system purchase price must be paid. Once paid for, Anesco can remove the solar panels for approximately £1,800.00.



    Interestingly when I asked how much the array generated in income per annum Anesco refused to answer saying they did not have to disclose that as tenants. I am now faced with a bit of a dilemma - huge amount to buy them out but if we stayed put for 6-7 years until the kids left school how much would it generate in come during that time? would that be taxable?
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 17th Jul 17, 12:23 PM
    • 720 Posts
    • 256 Thanks
    sevenhills
    Hmmm - you're beginning to sound a lot like you're messing about.
    Anyway, the OP has a challenge because they have leased out their roof.
    You appear to have no challenge with the property you're buying, because nobody has leased out the roof.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    I am hoping to be the owner of my council house, with solar panels, with 2 weeks; I will post on here how easy/hard it was.
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