As electric vehicle production and use are becoming a significant part of the country’s energy conservation and global warming reduction effort, many states are passing laws in order to help expand the installation and use of electric vehicle charging (EVC) stations. New Jersey has now joined that list of states.
On October 19, 2020, a new law was signed by Governor Murphy prohibiting common interest communities (CIC) from adopting rules which prohibit the installation or use of an EVC station in a parking space designated for the use of a particular unit owner. Any such existing rules or restrictions are now void and unenforceable.
The board of a CIC is now required by law to grant exclusive, or limited use, of any portion of a common element, to a unit owner to install and use an EVC station in that owner’s parking space. Of course, there are certain requirements, and an association may impose reasonable restrictions.
- All EVC stations must meet applicable health and safety standards, along with meeting all applicable local zoning ordinances, permits, etc. If association approval is required, the approval process will be the same as any other architectural modification. If not approved within 60 days of receipt of the application, the application will be deemed approved.
- If required by the governing documents, the owner shall first obtain association approval. A unit owner’s application may be denied if the association reasonably determines the EVC station poses a life-safety risk. However, the association must approve the installation if the owner agrees, in writing, to:
- comply with the association’s architectural standards;
- engage a licensed electrician to install all the required electric lines and electrical infrastructure;
- obtain the requisite insurance, prior to installation, indemnifying the association, along with carrying sufficient coverage to cover the EVC station;
- pay for the electricity associated with the EVC station; and
- reimburse the association its reasonable costs of the application review, including reasonable engineering and attorney’s fees. The association may require the applicant-owner to put these fees in escrow.
- If each EVC station does not have its own meter, a CIC may assess the owner for any additional costs in the use of electricity, along with any infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate the EVC station. The sums assessed to the owner can be collected in the same manner as common expense assessments.
- There are numerous costs that the owner of an EVC station is responsible for including, but not limited to, damage to the EVC station, parking space, common elements, etc., resulting from the installation, repair, removal, or replacement of the EVC station.
An association may install EVC stations for use by all its owners. However, this would be subject to the capital improvement language set forth in the CIC’s governing documents.
As always, check with your association counsel on any specifics and how to implement policy regarding this new law. You may also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 609.895.7335.