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USA: Can condo owner insist on having an electric vehicle charging station?

State law limits what owners can demand of a board. The charger must be in the owner’s parking space, and he or she must pay for its installation, upkeep and electricity use.

Question: Our 15-unit condo complex, built in 1982, has only one parking space assigned to each unit. One owner purchased an electric car and requested board permission to install an electric vehicle charging station in her assigned parking spot, costing her $3,000. The electric plug she plans to use cuts into another homeowner’s exclusive-use garage parking spot. There’s a 24-hour electric vehicle charging station open to the public less than 0.1 mile from our building, but she wants to plug her car into the homeowners association’s electricity.

She wants our homeowners association to subsidize her personal charging station and its electric bill. Citing a website, she says she has that right and our association cannot refuse her request because new condo laws support green energy. She says SB 880 ensures her right to install a charging station in her personal parking space and requires homeowners associations to provide common-area space if it’s not practical to install in the unit owner’s own space. She says SB 1353 mandates that she be given access to common areas for installing a meter and electric lines; this means our meter box outside the garage’s ceiling. She threatens the board that “any voting that owners or the board do on this issue will be null and void since you can’t refuse me. It will be a waste of your time.”

We don’t want power cords everywhere, accidents or liability. What happens when she sells her unit? What if new owners don’t want a charging station in their only parking spot? Who pays for the electricity?

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Answer: Owners who intimidate and threaten board directors with musings and recommendations from websites are reacting to global opinions that have not been vetted and that, more often than not, do not apply to their situations.

Although SB 880 provides for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in common interest developments, the bill doesn’t strip the board of its authority to oversee the process of installation and maintenance.
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