Date Published 28 March 2012

Have any of our readers found that households that have rented out their roofs to solar companies are finding it impossible to sell?

Thousands of households are thought to have agreed to rent their roofs to solar panel companies, usually for 25 years, in return for free electricity. Now there are warnings that such homes may not be mortgageable.

According to a story in Guardian Money, owners of such properties are being turned down for remortgages, which suggests that prospective purchasers of such properties are also likely to be rejected.

Guardian Money was contacted by a Southampton couple who were refused by several companies when they tried to remortgage, even though their existing mortgage provider, RBS, apparently agreed to the scheme.

Applications for a remortgage have been apparently turned down by Skipton and Nationwide, although RBS has offered them a mortgage on the basis that it approved the solar installation.

The couple are now worried they won't be able to sell if potential buyers also struggle to find a loan.

Guardian Money says that although the case is probably the first of its kind, others could follow, resulting in a raft of legal disputes over the ‘rent a roof' scheme.

Peter Ambrose, of conveyancing firm The Partnership, said: "There is an increase in litigation expected from frustrated sellers whose buyers cannot get mortgages on their potential purchases because of these restrictive leases."

Guidance to brokers by the Skipton, updated on February 20, says: `The society will NOT lend where the panel provider is supplying and fitting panels free of charge, is taking income from the grid tariff scheme and is creating a long-term lease against the roof and roof air space.`