Electric vehicles are now commonplace in our society. However, with the price of gas skyrocketing, more people will consider purchasing an electric vehicle. Condominium association directors should, therefore, expect owners to ask questions about electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) on the common elements. Specifically, is the Board able to install an EVCS on the common elements as a common expense? Are unit owners able to install their own EVCS anywhere upon the common elements?
The Condominium Act, Section 718.113 (9) of the Florida Statutes, provides that the Board may install an EVCS on the common elements and such installation is not a material alteration. This means that the Board may decide to install an EVCS on the common elements and may do so without a unit owner vote. Further, the cost to install the EVCS is shared by all the unit owners as a common expense and the Board may charge each owner or resident who use the EVCS.
If the Board installs an EVCS upon the common elements, unit owners may likewise install their own EVCS in their limited common element (LCE) parking spaces. The Board cannot automatically prohibit owners from installing an EVCS in their LCE parking spaces simply because the Board installs an EVCS on the common elements. The statute provides that the Board must approve an owner’s request to install an EVCS in a LCE parking space, subject to the following restrictions:
- The installation may not cause irreparable damage to the condominium property.
- The electricity for the EVCS must be separately metered or metered by an embedded meter and payable by the unit owner installing the EVCS.
- The unit owner who is installing the EVCS must pay for the costs of installation, operation, maintenance, and repair, including, but not limited to, hazard and liability insurance.
- If the unit owner (or his or her successor) decides there is no longer a need for the EVCS, he/she is responsible for the cost of removal.
- The unit owner installing the EVCS must comply with all federal, state, or local laws and regulations applicable to such installation, maintenance, or removal.
- The unit owner installing the EVCS must comply with reasonable architectural standards adopted by the association that govern the dimensions, placement, or external appearance of the EVCS, provided that such standards may not prohibit the installation of the EVCS or substantially increase the cost thereof.
- The association may require the unit owner to engage the services of a licensed and registered firm familiar with the installation or removal and core requirements of an EVCS.
- The association may require the unit owner to provide a certificate of insurance naming the Association as an additional insured on the owner’s insurance policy for any claim related to the installation, maintenance, or use of the EVCS within 14 days after receiving the Association’s approval to install the EVCS.
- The association may require the unit owner to reimburse the Association for the actual cost of any increased insurance premium amount attributable to the EVCS within 14 days after receiving the association’s insurance premium invoice.
Based on the statutory restrictions above, boards should consider adopting a rule requiring owners to apply for board approval prior to installing the ECVS. The application should require that owners submit detailed specifications concerning the EVCS and any related infrastructure or equipment the owner intends to install. The board may also require owners to enter into a separate agreement to address compliance with the statute, cost sharing, insurance, payment for electricity used, increased insurance costs for the association and other related, reasonable matters in connection with the planned installation of an ECVS.