Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Civil Code Section 4745 limits the degree to which an association’s governing documents may prohibit or restrict the installation of an electric vehicle (“EV”) charging station in a members separate interest, or in common area or exclusive use common area:

“A covenant, restriction or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of any interest in a common interest development, and any provision of a governing document, as defined in Section 4150, that either effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of an [EV] charging station in an owner’s exclusive use common area, or a parking space that is specifically designated for use by a particular owner, or is in conflict with the provisions of [Section 4745], is void and unenforceable.” (Civ. Code § 4745(a).)

“Reasonable Restrictions” Permitted
Civil Code Section 4745 permits “reasonable restrictions” on the installation or use of an EV charging station. A “reasonable restriction” is defined as a restriction that does “not significantly increase the cost of the station or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance.” (Civ. Code § 4745(b)(2).)

Application & Timeline for Approval
Where association approval for the installation or use of an EV charging station is required, the application must be processed and approved in a manner consistent with that utilized for approving an application for modifications to the owner’s property. (Civ. Code § 4745(e); See also “Architectural Application & Approval Process.”) Approval or denial must be in writing, and must not be willfully avoided or delayed. If no approval or denial is received within sixty (60) days of submission, the application will be deemed approved unless the delay is due to a reasonable request for the owner to provide additional information. (Civ. Code § 4745(e).)

Common Area or Exclusive Use Common Area; Approval Requirements
Where an owner intends on installing an EV charging station within common area or exclusive use common area (i.e., the owner’s designated exclusive use parking space), the owner must first obtain approval from the association. The association must approve the installation if the owner agrees in writing to do all of the following:

  • Comply with the association’s architectural guidelines;
  • Use a licensed contractor for the installation;
  • Provide a certificate of insurance within fourteen (14) days of approval naming the association as additionally insured under the owner’s homeowner liability insurance policy with coverage in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000.00); and
  • Pay for the electricity usage costs associated with the use of the EV charging station. (Civ. Code § 4745(f)(1)(A)-(D).)

The EV charging station must also meet “applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local authorities, and all other applicable zoning, land use, or other ordinances, or land use permits.” (Civ. Code § 4745(c).)

Exclusive (“Private”) Use EV Charging Station on Common Area
Installation of an EV charging station in a common area (not within an exclusive use common area parking space) for the exclusive (or “private”) use of a particular owner must be allowed by the association “only if installation in the owner’s designated parking space is impossible or unreasonably expensive.” (Civ. Code § 4745(g).) Under such circumstances, the association is required to “enter into a license agreement with the owner for the use of the space in a common area, and the owner shall comply with all” of the approval requirements listed above. (Civ. Code § 4745(g).)

Open (“Public”) Use EV Charging Station on Common Area
The association or owners may install an EV charging station in common area for the use of all members of the association. In such cases, the association is required to “develop appropriate terms of use for the charging station.” (Civ. Code § 4745(h).)

Creation of New Parking Space
An association is permitted to create a new parking space where one did not previously exist in order to facilitate the installation of an EV charging station. (Civ. Code § 4745(i).)

Common Area Access for Utility Lines or Meters
Civil Code Section 4600 restricts the degree to which a board may grant exclusive use of any portion of the association’s common area to a member. (See “Granting Exclusive Use of Common Area.”) Those limitations do not apply to a grant of exclusive use that is needed:

  • “to install and use an [EV] charging station in an owner’s garage or a designated parking space that meets the requirements of Section 4745, where the installation or use of the charging station requires reasonable access through, or across, the common area for utility lines or meters.” (Civ. Code § 4600(b)(3)(H).); or
  • “to install and use an [EV] charging station through a license granted by an association under Section 4745.” (Civ. Code § 4600(b)(3)(I).)

Owner Responsibilities
The owner (and each successive owner) of an EV charging station is responsible for all of the following:

  • Any cost associated with damage to the EV charging station, common area, exclusive use common area, or separate interests resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the EV charging station;
  • Any cost associated with the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the EV charging station, and any cost associated with removing the EV charging station, including the restoration of the common area after removal;
  • The electricity cost associated with the use of the EV charging station; and
  • Disclosing to prospective buyers the existence of any EV charging station owned by the owner and the owner’s responsibilities under Civil Code Section 4745. (Civ. Code § 4745(f)(2)(A)-(D).)

Insurance Requirement
The owner (and each successive owner) of an EV charging station is required to “at all times…maintain a homeowner liability coverage policy in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) that names the association as a named additional insured under the policy with a right to notice of cancellation.” (Civ. Code § 4745(f)(3).)

Violation & Enforcement of Section 4745
An association that “willfully violates” the requirements of Civil Code Section 4745 is liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages and a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). (Civ. Code § 4745(j).) In an action to enforce compliance with Civil Code Section 4745, the “prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.” (Civ. Code § 4745(k).)

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