When it comes to electric vehicle charging stations in community associations, one consistent theme is who pays for the costs connected with installation and use. The main exception to this issue is when installation will be in common areas and meant for the use of more than just one owner. If an association installs a charging station meant to be shared, it may need to create rules or regulations governing access to it.
The most important thing for community association boards to do now is to work toward creating a policy for handling requests for charging stations. The policy should consider any state or local law that may apply. Even if there is no law in your jurisdiction yet, it is helpful to be aware of what other states have done.
For townhomes, condominiums, and cooperatives, especially older communities where space may be at a premium, boards should review their governing documents and available parking areas to evaluate potential locations for charging stations. Having an attorney review the governing documents to verify whether selected locations are common elements, limited common elements, or part of an owner’s property will be essential.
Boards should keep in mind that parking rights—and a board’s ability to make changes to them—vary. Boards also should consider future owners and future use of charging stations.
If an association has enough current demand or just wants to be prepared for the future, a board may consider installing one or more charging stations in the common area. Boards will want to consider how to maximize available space and availability for stations. The board also will have to decide the type of station to be installed, considering costs and whether existing infrastructures can handle the demands and develop rules for use once stations are installed.
Rules could include things like who can use charging stations, when, and for how long. They could also include rules on how to pay, length of charging time, and fines or towing for vehicles left too long or for nonelectric vehicles parked in charging spaces.
Associations also may begin to see companies willing to pay for leases to install charging stations on association property—or for the right to install a station on owner property by a third party.
Where associations are responsible for charging station maintenance open to all residents, some boards may want to consider installing surveillance cameras to monitor stations and reduce the likelihood of vandalism. It also may be necessary for an association to grant an easement to a power company across common areas to power the charging station.
Finally, associations need to ensure accessible parking for all residents—even those with traditional gas vehicles—and should consider how to address and meet those needs.
Contributed by David Wilson, Esq.
>>Read more about electric vehicle charging stations in “Current Events” from the September/October issue of CAI’s Common Ground magazine. David Wilson is a partner with Law Firm Carolinas in Charlotte, N.C. email@example.com