Tampa, FL asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Florida

Q: Buying a house with a current leased solar panel agreement - seller says buyer must assume lease. What if I don’t?

In other words, what if we go through closing, everyone signs the paperwork the title company has for the sale of the property (none of which includes the solar lease), and I just don’t assume the solar lease? The only thing about the solar lease is the wording “buyer must assume solar lease” in the As-Is Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase under the “additional terms” section.

Presumably the solar company could repossess the solar panels off the roof, but would the seller have any recourse after the sale is recorded to force me to accept the solar lease they signed? It’s a 25-year lease that’s outrageously expensive (why they agreed to it I don’t understand!), and the solar company has terrible ratings at the BBB (last I checked they had a 1.8 out of 5.) I would assume the solar company would take the seller to court, but would I have any legal liability?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The wording you quote from the Contract for Sale may well be grounds for the seller suing you, despite the fact that the closing paperwork didn't mention the lease.

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You need to have a lawyer review the lease agreement with the solar company, whether the lease is assignable (probably) and what the remedies against you might be. It might list repossession as the only option, which is what you'd want anyway.

You agreed to the lease in the contract. Closing confirms clear title, it is not intended to list leases, leases are not liens. And this lease does not alter title to the property. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with closing.

Good luck.

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