As the popularity of electric vehicles increases the time is here for associations to focus on charging stations and individual charging at the owner’s residence. Virginia statutes require associations to permit electric vehicle charging unless their documents prohibit it. Of course, most documents don’t deal with the topic at all although newer documents certainly will. There are various issues to consider relative to electric vehicle charging.
First, it requires a significant amount of electricity. Consequently, in condominiums it is desirable to have the power used for charging to be supplied from the owner’s residence or via a separate meter. This could be challenging in a mid-rise or high-rise with parking garage but it can be done. In an HOA it is more a matter of aesthetics, especially in a townhouse community.
Most associations will want to have some control over the installation. The relatively new statutes – one for Condos and one for HOAs – provide that the association can control the placement, size and location and number of stations for any one owner with reasonable rules. The statutes take a relatively thorough and conservative approach to electric vehicle charging primarily because of the newness of the technology and the potency of the batteries. Under some unusual circumstances the batteries can become dangerous and be a cause of fire. It is also important to know that in the case of the charging station equipment “one size does not fit all.” Consequently, the statutes allow for a rule requiring detailed plans prepared by a licensed electrical contractor or engineer.
The topic of insurance is also included in the statutes – allowing the association to require insurance “covering claims and defenses of claims related to the installation, maintenance, operation and use” of a charging station and provide a certificate of insurance to the association. Actually, the master policy in a condominium will come into play if there is damage to the common elements caused by a charging station. Both statutes provide that “the unit owner shall indemnify and hold the association harmless from all liability, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the association, resulting from a claim arising out of the installation, maintenance, operation or use of the charging station.”
We recommend that the board of directors take a close look at the well written and thorough statute applicable to their type of community in order to come up with rules and regulations regarding this type of equipment. The Code sections are: 55.1-1962.1 and 55.1-1823.1. Please let us know if our CA Team can assist you in preparing rules appropriate for your community.