Should Your Clients Allow — or Build Their Own — Electric Vehicle Charging Stations?

We’re still far off from the flying cars promised by The Jetsons, but electric cars are a reality and, slowly but surely, gaining popularity. That’s particularly true among the next big generation of community association owners — Millennials.

“According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 54 percent of all new car sales will be electric by 2040,” says Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with community associations.

“Communal charging stations may be an amenity for people who want to purchase in the community and own electric vehicles. A lot of people these days are buying not just a home but a lifestyle.”

Whether considering individual or communal stations, managers can help their clients do their due diligence before facing the almost inevitable request. “This is just the reality with the way the world is going,” says David Savitt, an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Mundelein, Ill., who works with hundreds of associations.

“These are new issues associations are going to be facing for the next decades.”

An association’s location will play a large role in how much say it has over an owner’s plans to install a charging station. Several states (including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon) have so-called right-to-charge laws that prohibit certain associations from barring the installation of charging stations within an owner’s limited common element parking spot.

Those laws generally do, however, allow covered associations to require owner compliance with, for example, safety requirements, applicable building codes, and reasonable architectural standards that don’t significantly increase the installation cost.

At this point, governing documents usually don’t specifically address the issue, but associations can regulate under the provisions related to modifications and/or exterior alternations of general or limited common elements.

To learn about other critical issues, including who will cover the higher electricity costs and the need for written agreements, policies, and procedures, read our new article Vehicle Charging Stations: Positives and Negatives.

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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