As electric vehicles become more prominent on our roads, demand for charging stations in condominiums will undoubtedly increase. We are now seeing more and more new condominiums with dedicated electric vehicle charging stations. But what about existing condominiums?
The challenge is to allow for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations (for the benefit of electric vehicle drivers), but without having an unacceptable impact upon other owners or the condominium property.
The provincial government has recently released regulations (to be in effect May 1, 2018) to deal with this issue.
Some highlights of the new regulations are as follows:
In some cases, a condominium board will have the right to install an electric vehicle charging station at the condominium’s expense (and owners won’t have any right to requisition a meeting to consider the installation). This will apply if:
1. The board has determined that the estimated cost of the installation (excluding post-installation / operating costs) will not be greater than 10 per cent of the condominium’s annual budget; and
2. In the reasonable opinion of the board, the owners would not regard the installation as causing a material reduction or elimination of their use or enjoyment of the condominium property.
If these conditions are met, the board could provide notice to the owners (including details of the above two conditions), and then the board could proceed with the installation 60 days after providing the notice.
In other cases – where either of the above two conditions are not satisfied – the 60 day notice to the owners would need to include an opportunity for the owners to requisition a meeting to consider the proposed installation. In other words, if either of the above two conditions are not satisfied, owners would have an opportunity (by requisitioning a meeting) to challenge the Board’s proposed installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
New procedures will also apply to owners who wish to install charging station(s) (at the owner’s expense) at a condominium. In particular:
• The board would be required to respond to an owner’s request or application (to install a charging station) within 60 days.
• The board could only reject an application based on the opinion of an expert (such as an engineer) that the installation would:
• Be contrary to the requirements of a statute or regulation;
• Adversely affect the structural integrity of the condominium property or assets of the corporation; or
• Pose a serious health and safety risk to an individual or a serious risk of damage to the condominium property or assets of the corporation.
• If and when the board accepts the owner’s application (subject to any permitted conditions), the parties must enter into an installation agreement. Among other things, the agreement could say that the owner is responsible for all reasonable costs to carry out the requested installation.
• Responsibility for other costs (such as the cost to prepare and register the agreement) could be subject to negotiation between the corporation and the owner.
• Any disagreements between an owner and a condominium corporation would be resolved via mediation and arbitration.
Another point to be aware of is that the status certificate form has been updated to reflect the new regulations respecting charging stations. As of May 1, 2018, condominiums will be required to use the new status certificate form which has been amended to reference the new regulations respecting electric vehicle charging stations. The changes to the form are found in:
• Paragraph 23 (dealing with modifications to common elements) – The changes made reference the agreement to be entered into by an owner that installs an electric vehicle charging station; and
• Paragraph 25 (respecting changes to the common elements) – The changes made relate to a proposed installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
The current status certificate forms must be used up until May 1, 2018.
As we mentioned before in a previous blog, there is no “one size fits all” solution to this charging station issue. Living in a condominium means living in a community where everyone’s rights and concerns need to be considered. Every condominium will need to analyze and balance the rights of all unit owners when determining (often with expert guidance, as noted above) whether a charging station is appropriate.
We here at DHA had some concerns when the government previously released the proposed regulations on charging stations. Specifically, we were concerned that owners without electric vehicles could in some cases be forced to subsidize the activities of owners with electric vehicles. That is still true under these new regulations. However, the new regulations appear to us, overall, to strike a pretty good balance.
Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on the amendments to the Condominium Act and the related new regulations.