Many Americans are trading in their gas-powered vehicles for electric vehicles (“EV”) including those living in Community Associations. According to the registration data from Experian (via Automotive News), out of 1.24 million new light vehicles registered in January 2023, 87,708, or 7.1 percent were all-electric. Shockingly, this is a seventy-four (74) percent increase year-over-year and a very noticeable change, compared to a 4.3 percent share in January 2022. The 7.1 percent share is also a step change from 5.6 percent in the 12 months of 2022.
More recently, our office received several questions from our Community Associations regarding the installation of electric charging stations for owner’s electric vehicles and the rules and regulations regarding the same. This article outlines the general requirements when it comes to installing EV charging stations on condominium common property.
First, it is important to define what falls under the definition of an EV. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an EV is a vehicle that can be powered by an electric motor that draws electricity from a battery and is capable of being charged from an external source. An EV includes both a vehicle that can only be powered by an electric motor that draws electricity from a battery (all-electric vehicle) and a vehicle that can be powered by an electric motor that draws electricity from a battery and by an internal combustion engine (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
Second, it is also important to define what an EV charging station is. An EV Charging Station is an electrical equipment that connects an EV to a source of electricity to recharge internal power systems within the vehicle.
Generally, a Condominium Association may not restrict or prohibit the installation of EV charging stations so long as the installation and use of EV charging stations is reasonable; the installation and use is in accordance with the Declaration, Bylaws, and applicable law; and, the installation is approved by the Board of Directors.
Prior to installation, the EV charging station installer and the Unit Owner seeking to install the charging device should first obtain appropriate approval from the Association to ensure that the installation is in harmony with the Association’s Declaration, Bylaws, and applicable statutory authority. It is important to note that any application for approval should be processed by the Board of Directors without willful avoidance or unreasonable postponement.
The Unit Owner who wants to install the charging station should first obtain the appropriate approvals from the Board and agree in writing to comply with the applicable architectural standards as detailed in the Association’s governing documents, comply with health and building standards, engage a licensed installation contractor, and provide a certificate of insurance. It is recommended that a licensed installation contractor should be used in installing the EV charging station and the contractor should also provide a certificate of insurance to the Board prior to commencing installation.
To ensure proper electricity billing, each Unit Owner should register their respective EV charging station with the Association. Each Unit Owner should be responsible for the cost of installation, maintenance, electricity usage, the operation of the EV charging station, and all other costs, seen and unforeseen, that are associated with the EV charging station.
It is good policy that any Unit Owner who is seeking to install an EV charging station should maintain an additional $1 million umbrella liability coverage policy and name the Association as an additional insured entity under the policy.
The Association may choose to install its own EV charging station in the Common Elements. It is recommended that the Board should reserve the right to install their own EV charging station for use by all Unit Owners but should do so in compliance with all applicable architectural standards as detailed in the Association’s governing documents, comply with health and building standards, and engage a licensed and insured installation contractor. Each individual Unit Owner utilizing the Association’s charging station is responsible for the cost of the electricity usage and the Board of Directors reserves the right to charge for said usage on a per Unit Owner basis and promulgate policies consistent with use and market discretion.
Lastly, it is always a good idea to check with legal counsel before adopting any of the above policies as these changes generally require Amendments to the Association’s Governing Documents.
 See id.