Looking to sell a house with solar panels?
Published by Property Saviour
The UK's No.1 Fast House Sale Company
July 30, 2018 - Read time: 3 minutes
Looking to sell a house with solar panels? It is true that to sell a house with solar panels can be a real challenge.
Were you mis-sold solar panels? Sadly you were not alone. Hundreds of thousands of British homeowners were offered free solar panels and free electricity. This clever marketing was too good to be true. It was sold like a “grant” or “subsidy” very much like the offer of a free boiler. Most home owners assumed that they did not have to pay back anything. What many home owners did not know was that they were leasing the space to a solar panel company for the next 25 years. Even to carry out basic repairs, they needed the permission of the solar panel company.
The reality is that many home owners have to sell their property as life plans change, children move out and health focus means down-sizing or moving into a bungalow.
Clauses within the signed leases are so punitive that mortgage lenders have refused to re-mortgage properties with leased solar panels, and home owners are still unable to sell their property to a buyer on the open market. Many home owners are finding that their roof space belongs to an unknown solar panel company – something that they were not made aware of. In almost all of cases we come across, very few home owners who actually obtained independent legal advice.
OK so you have found a bungalow that you wish to buy. You have to sell your house with solar panels, and you have appointed the services of local estate agent. Many estate agents are not aware of defective leases relating to the solar panels. Within a couple of weeks, your estate agents have found a young couple – first time buyers with a deposit and mortgage approved. They instructed a surveyor, and he finds solar panels on your roof. Upon some further investigation, he finds that your roof space is leased a solar company – who has now stopped trading and the lease was sold on to another solar investment company.
This is a very common scenario. Hundreds of thousands of solar panels were fitted by hundreds of different solar panel companies. Many of them are now out of business. When they went bust, they sold their leases on to another company. The lease is so defective and punitive that you are not allowed to even replace tiles on your roof – as this requires permission of the solar panel company. That’s even if the roof tiles being replaced are away from the solar panels. Many sellers are trapped unable to sell their house with solar panels or re-mortgage their properties.
Typically many of leases were signed for a period of at least 25 years. Feed-in-tariffs or FIT for short, have reduced over the years to a point where they are practically ¼ of initial incentives available.
Naturally all of the lenders wish to have a full control over their properties. Their properties are their real assets against which they will lend the money. Having a property with 25 years of lease to a solar panel company and punitive clauses do not bode well for them. This also makes it impossible to re-mortgage a property or to sell a house with solar panels on the roof. So what can you do?
Can I sell a house with solar panels?
You can sell your house to a specialist like Property Saviour. We are specialist property buyers which means that we can purchase your property with solar panels in place. We are not not reliant on bank mortgages or expensive bridging loans. We will buy any property even if lease of the solar panels is defective. If you do not have a copy of the lease, we can still purchase your property.
What about the legal recourse?
Whilst we are not lawyers, if you genuinely believe you were mis-sold solar panels, and were not offered independent legal advice then you may have a case. Particularly if you have lost out on missed opportunity cost additional costs incurred because of not being able to sell a house with solar panels on the roof.
3 Tips for selling a house with solar panels
If you’ve tried to sell a house with solar panels you know how difficult it is to have a proceedable buyer for your property. This is where Property Saviour come in. We have seen cases where inherited properties have had solar panels installed and the beneficiaries have struggle to sell the property. As you can imagine in this scenario, the original owner who signed the lease has sadly passed away, and the beneficiaries have no idea about copies of signed leases or any other documentation relating to the solar panels such as warranty certificate. If you can try and have the following checklist in order to achieve a quick sale:
- Check that the solar panels are working.
- Try and locate the original certificate of installation, guarantee documentation and a copy of the lease if at all possible.
- Provide evidence to show the impact of solar panels on your energy bills ideally before and after energy bills would be perfect however this is not necessary if you are not able to find copy of these.
If you are thinking about selling your property with solar panels give us a call on 0113 320 6700 or make an enquiry using our online form and we will call you either the same day or the next day to discuss how we can help.
How have solar panels affected the value of my house?
If you bought your own solar panels outright then you will have benefited from:
- Reduced electricity usage and therefore, a financial saving in electricity bills
- Payment in feed-in-tariffs each year
- Enhanced energy performance ratings
If you have leased the roof to a solar company sadly, you may have reduced the value of your house because of punitive lease clauses and as a result property being unmortgage-able. In this case, we can still buy your property. Our service is totally free, and there are no fees to pay.
When is the best time to sell a house with solar panels?
The best time to sell a house with solar panels is usually between 8 to 15 years, assuming that you have received feed-in-tariffs (FIT) or benefited from free electricity over the years if you had signed up to a lease agreement. Older models of solar PV panels are less energy efficient and also produce less energy than newer models. The average payback for solar panels is considered to be around 10 years. This is also partly to do with the fact that Britain has a cooler climate. If you paid for your old solar panels, the optimum time to sell a property is between 8 to 15 years from the date of your solar PV installation.
I bought my solar panels outright, can I sell them with the house or separately?
Solar panels can be defined as part of Fixtures and Fittings. You can have them removed and take them to your new property and have them fitted there. However you may not get the feed-in tariffs or you may get the reduced feeding tariffs plus you have to pay for the cost of having them removed, relocated and the installation cost comes with it. Therefore it makes more sense to sell the solar panels to your property buyer.
Remember this scenario only applies if you actually own the solar panels and does not apply if you have leased solar panels installed on your roof. You would have to negotiate with your buyer regarding the solar panels and come up with the figure that you, as the seller, and your buyer are happy with. Do not expect to get a 100% value on the solar panels as it depends on the age of the panels, the potential feed in tariffs income that will be generated over the next 25 years and finally the remaining warranty on the solar panels.
Obviously you have to demonstrate how much cost saving the solar panels have introduced as a direct result of their insulation and this saving can be taken into consideration when an owner occupier is buying the solar panels. Don’t forget to mention the fact that they are already installed! It sounds so obvious but too many people miss this fact.
The cost of solar panels are coming down. therefore you may have to factor in how much usage you’ve had out of your solar panels, and how much you have saved as a result of your investment when considering an offer from your buyer.
If your buyer is not in a position to buy the solar panels then there is another option. This option will require you to draw up a lease of solar panels between yourself, as a seller, and your buyer. Effectively you lease them the solar panels in return for free electricity and for you to receive the cheque for the feed-in tariffs. Of course this is a complex situation which will require solicitors involvement – and independent legal advice is a must. The cost of this is likely to run into thousands of pounds.
If you’ve tried to sell a house with solar panels on the open market, and you haven’t been successful then we are here to help. Whether you own the solar panels outright or you are leasing the roof, we can buy the property. Please give us a call if you thinking about selling your property with solar panels. You can also make an online enquiry. It takes just 60 seconds to complete, giving us basic details of the property and how we can get hold of you. We will call you back within 48 hours with an offer.