Friday, June 15, 2012

Electrical Cars: Owners Rights and the Condominium Board's Responsibility

By: Robert Gorden

Chevrolet Electric Car while charging front view
Electrical Car Charging on the Street
In today’s world, it would be smart to start paying more attention to electrical cars. Not only are electrical cars more environmentally friendly, but with the price of oil on the rise, you can expect more people to start buying them to save money. 

There are many issues a Board of a condominium will have to discuss when thinking of implementing electrical car charging stations. Is the Association required to install electrical charging stations? Who should have to pay for them? If the board does allow the charging stations, where should they be located?

It turns out that Boards are not legally required to implement electrical car charging stations at their condominium. There is no law stating these stations are mandatory, but by not having one,  the condominium’s reputation may be hurt.  If charging stations are approved, the Unit Owners who need the electrical stations are the ones who should be required to pay the installation fees. It does not seem right to make Unit Owners who are not using these stations also pay the fees.  One suggestion for condominiums would be to have a separate meter where the electric car owners pay a separate electric bill for the charging stations.

Where to place these car-charging stations can also be tricky. If the Owners each have their own garages, then there is an easy solution. On the other hand, if there is a common garage or a parking lot it can be a little more difficult.  There may be friction among owners if the Board gives preferential treatment to one group over the other.

If parking spaces are not assigned, it may be best to put the charging station in one of the less “desirable” spots to appease both parties. The Owners who have electrical cars can continue using the stations and the Owners who do not have electrical cars should not feel like anyone received  special treatment. It is very important to accommodate all Owners in a condominium. With electrical cars on the rise, over the next few years this is an issue that more and more condominium Boards will be faced with. Each situation and building will be different, but these are some tips to make the transition as seamless as possible. 

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