Brothers’ anger at bill to remove solar panels

NOT HAPPY From left, Arthur Chandler and Gerald Hall at their late mother's house in Selborne Avenue, Leigh Park with estate agent Paul Newman   Picture: Malcolm Wells (143242-6702)
NOT HAPPY From left, Arthur Chandler and Gerald Hall at their late mother's house in Selborne Avenue, Leigh Park with estate agent Paul Newman Picture: Malcolm Wells (143242-6702)
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SOLAR panels on a roof have left two sons struggling to sell off their late mother’s house.

Brothers Gerry Hall and Arthur Chandler have lost two buyers for their mother’s house because mortgage companies are reluctant to take on a house with solar panels.

They are now being asked by the installer to pay out £13,000 if they want to have the panels removed from the house in Selborne Avenue, Leigh Park.

The problem has arisen as their mother Emily May Chandler agreed for solar panels to be installed on the roof of her home in 2012.

She signed a 25-year lease with Carl Hughes, who fitted the panels as a private investment because he gets a share of the cash from any electricity that goes into the national grid.

She died at the age of 97 in October last year, but the lease on the roof space still has another 23 years to go.

Mr Chandler, 66, from Southsea, said: ‘She was 95 when they sold it to her. She never consulted us – it happened so quickly.

‘She thought it was a good idea, but at the age of 95, you would not expect to get a 25-year contract.’

Mr Hall, 67, from Denvilles, Havant, said the saga had been a ‘nightmare’.

He said: ‘It’s not just the panels on the roof – it’s the installation.’

Paul Newman, of Newman’s Estate Agents in Bedhampton, said many mortgage companies were reluctant to give out mortgages to homes where some of the roof space is leased for solar panelling. 
 This is because they would not own 100 per cent of the property, he said.

Rachael Brown, the in-house solicitor for Fareham-based Southern Energy Solutions, where Mr Hughes’ is the managing director, said the solar panels were one of number of private investments by Mr Hughes.

She said: ‘Considering the situation Mr Hughes is prepared to take the panels down. But Mr Hall has to realise Mr Hughes is losing a 25-year investment and something he paid out money for. That’s where the £13,000 comes from.’

She said they were willing to negotiate with the solicitor so the £13,000 is taken after the sale of the house.

Ms Brown said the panels can reap between £50,000 and £80,000 for investors over the course of a lifetime.

She said any new owner of the house would have the benefit of cheaper electricity.

‘He’s prepared to remove them, but he’s losing his investment and the money he paid upfront to pay for the panels and installation,’ she added.

‘We will remove them but Mr Hughes needs compensation for what he’s outlaid.’