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Solar Panels – New Guidance from the Council of Mortgage Lenders & Belfast Solicitors Association

11 Sep 2015

Following new government legislation designed to encourage the generation of low-carbon energy, there has been an increase in the installation of solar panels on the roof spaces on properties in Northern Ireland. But what does this mean for your property?

Solar Panels – New Guidance from the Council of Mortgage Lenders & Belfast Solicitors Association

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and Belfast Solicitors Association (BSA) has recently published new guidance on the minimum requirements regarding the form of legal documents for fitting photovoltaic (PV or solar) panels.

On installation, a business tenancy may be deemed to be created over your property in favour of the solar panel company. Under the Business Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 1996,  business tenants are afforded certain protections which could have implications when you would come to sell or re-mortgage your property. For this reason mortgage lenders will insist that you obtain their consent before entering into such an agreement with a solar panel company, and without such consent you will almost certainly be in breach of the terms of your mortgage.

The CML and BSA guidance suggests that instead of entering into a tenancy with the solar panel company, that a ‘lease of rights’ or licence is granted. This will allow the solar panel company to install, maintain and operate the panels upon a property but does not allow them to operate in a manner which grants exclusive possession over the property or any part thereof. However it is still essential the necessary lender consents are obtained.

Anyone considering installing solar panels on their property should seek proper legal advice before entering into any contractual documentation with a solar panel company to ensure that their interests are not compromised or they do not inadvertently breach the terms of their mortgage.

If you require legal advice about your solar panels, contact one of our conveyancing solicitors at Hewitt and Gilpin by calling 028 90 573 573.

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