“Watt” Can You Do When an Owner Wants an Electric Vehicle Charging Station?
By Quinn Sperry
Attorney at Jenkins Bagley Sperry, PLLC
It is no secret that electric vehicles have greatly increased in popularity in recent years, and it is inevitable that an owner in a condominium project or community association will want to install an electric charging station within the development. Senate Bill 152 (adopted during the 2022 legislative session and which enacted Utah Code §§ 57-8-8.2, 57-8a-801 to -802) provides guidance on the parameters an association may put in place related to such charging stations.
The new statute does not allow an association to prohibit an owner from installing an electric vehicle charging system in: (a) a parking space assigned to a condominium unit or on an owner’s lot and which parking space is used for the parking or storage of a vehicle or equipment; or (b) a limited common area parking space designated for the unit/lot owner’s exclusive use. However, the statute does allow an association to adopt provisions imposing certain requirements and obligations on the owner installing the charging system. These requirements which may be adopted by the association include:
(a) requiring the owner to submit an application to the association for approval of the installation of the charging system;
(b) requiring the owner to agree in writing to hire a contractor to install the charging system or, if the charging system is installed in the common area, to reimburse the association for the actual cost increase in the association’s insurance premium attributable to the charging system;
(c) requiring the charging system comply with: (i) the association’s reasonable design criteria for the size, placement, and appearance; or (ii) applicable building codes;
(d) charging a reasonable fee to the owner to cover the association’s costs directly related to the review and approval of the charging system;
(e) imposing a reasonable restriction on the installation and use of a charging station which does not significantly increase the cost of the charging station or decrease the efficiency or performance of the system; and
(f) obligating the owner to pay the costs associated with installing, metering, and using the charging system, which costs include the electricity associated with the charging station and any damages to the common area or an area subject to the exclusive use of another owner caused by the installation, use, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the charging station.
A charging station installed by an owner remains the personal property of the unit/lot owner, unless the owner and the association agree otherwise. An owner who installs a charging station is obligated to disclose to any prospective buyer of the unit/lot the existence of the charging station and the owner’s responsibilities imposed by the statute and the association’s governing documents related to said charging station. If a prospective buyer of the unit/lot does not accept ownership of the charging station and its related obligations, then the owner must – prior to transferring ownership of the real property – remove the charging station and restore the area to the condition that existed prior to the charging station’s installation. The governing body of the association should proactively consider “watt” requirements the association may adopt before the association is presented with an owner’s request to install an electric vehicle charging station. Consultation with the association’s manager and legal counsel is recommended when considering and adopting these requirements.