Category Archives: Planned Unit Development

PUD Owner Denied Solar Power Access

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B.N. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in a Planned Unit Development (PUD). We have electric heat which is very expensive. Solar panels were brought up to the board members months back. They said that they would check into it. We never heard anything back. Nothing in writing. So I place a call and I am told that one attorney approved the panels and one didn’t. This was not disclosed to us in writing, nor have the bylaws been amended. There is one homeowner that has them supposedly illegal. My question is if I have any recourse. I really need a less expensive way to heat my home!

Mister Condo replies:

B.N., PUDs are no different than condominiums or other HOAs when it comes to the Board’s governance of the association and its adherence to architectural compliance, which is where the solar panel discussion usually goes. The Board argues that the governing documents call for no exterior modification to the common elements while the unit owners inquire about their “right” to install solar panels. The reality is that the association has the ability to modify their architectural guidelines to allow solar panels but many choose not to because they are concerned about the potential eyesore of solar panels and their potential neglect over time. I am not sure why or how the attorneys were involved in this process but it appears that they did not reach a consensus on whether or not the association could even approve their use, let alone modify the governance documents that would allow their installation. Until or unless the state law changes that would supersede your governance documents, the Board has every right to prevent their installation. Also, the Board has every right to go after any individual unit owner for installing them and force their removal at the unit owner’s expense. The units were constructed with electric heating in place. Unit owners, including you, knew that when you purchased your unit. Your need for a less expensive way to heat your home is very likely to go unfulfilled at this PUD. If the cost of electric heat is that burdensome, you may wish to consider moving to a community that allows solar panels. All the best!

Planned Unit Development Delinquency Rate Effect on Mortgage

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B.T. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My clients live in an attached Planned Unit Development (PUD) complex; they are refinancing their home using and FHA-backed mortgage. There are only 9 units in the complex. Does the 15% delinquency rate apply? 2 of the units are late making the rate 22%.

Mister Condo replies:

B.T., thank you for writing, I am not an expert on Planned Unit Development (PUD) financing but in the past, FHA did not concern itself with PUDs, treating them as single family homes rather than community associations. If that is still the case, there will be no FHA requirement of the community with regards to financing. Of course, you may wish to speak to a mortgage loan originator to confirm this information but my understanding is that the delinquency rate of the PUD will not affect the availability of a mortgage that is backed by the FHA. Good luck!

Are PUDs Legal in Connecticut?

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A.D. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The community that I have lived in for the last 25 years is a PUD. The management firm that we have contracted with says that a PUD is no longer legal in Connecticut and that we must legally change our bylaws so that we are structured as a condominium. Is this true? Can the board of directors proceed with this action without the consent of owners?  Should it matter to me?  Will individual deeds need to be changed?

Mister Condo replies:

A.D., that sounded like some wrong information as you reported it to me. I can’t imagine a ruling that would abolish existing PUDs in our state. There are just too many of them and I would think they could claim “grandfather” status to protect themselves from a forced change. I asked an attorney friend of mine who specializes in community association law for some clarification. Here’s the long and short of it:

PUD stands for “planned unit development” and refers to a cluster of homes designed to satisfy land use goals which would not otherwise be possible under existing zoning regulations.  When dense urban areas would not have the open space, setbacks, or flexibility to accommodate efficient residential development, PUDs can be approved to squeeze them in.  Although Connecticut laws governing PUDs were repealed in 1985, the existing PUDs themselves have not been abolished.  Connecticut General Statutes Section 8-2d specifically says that the PUD regulations adopted in individual towns remain valid and continue to govern them.  Converting your community into a condominium may or may not be desirable for a variety of reasons, but it is not mandatory under state law.