Electric Vehicle Charging Station Legislation Introduced

Written by: on Friday, February, 1st, 2013

As promised 2013 is turning out to be a very busy year for legislation involving or concerning Homeowners Associations.  In what seems to be a bill-a-week cycle, most recently SB 13-126 was introduced that requires every common interest community, condominium association, and landlord of rental property to permit installation of phase 1 and phase 2 charging stations for electric powered cars within the common elements or on limited common elements.

As introduced, the bill has three sections, which seem similar but impact different types of housing.  Section one prohibits a landlord of a private rental property from denying installation of either a phase 1 or phase 2 charging station on the rental property.  Section two has a similar provision restricting a condominium association created pursuant to the Colorado Condominium Act CRS 38-33-101 et seq., from restricting an owner or tenant from installing a phase 1 or phase 2 charging station, and Section three contains a similar provision prohibiting a common interest community (including condominiums) created pursuant to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act from denying the installation of a phase 1 or phase 2 charging station.

While the right to install the charging station is very broad, there are a number of requirements that a person requesting installation of the charging station must comply with prior to installation of the system.  For example, prior to installation, the person requesting the charging station must agree in writing to comply with the landlord’s/Condominium Association’s/Homeowner Association’s design specification for the installation of the system; the system must be installed by a licensed contractor; and the requesting person must also obtain an insurance policy for the station naming the Landlord/Association as an additional insured.  After installation, the charging station must be registered with the landlord or association within 30 days. These requirements follow every subsequent owner of the charging station. 

Furthermore, the bill only permits the landlord or association to consider a few factors in determining where the charging station is placed.  These include bona fide safety requirements which are consistent with applicable building codes; reasonable aesthetic provisions governing dimensions, placement, or external appearance of an electric vehicle charging system.  But in so doing, these factors must be off set with the potential impact on the purchase price and operating costs of the system, the impact on the performance of the system, and criteria contained in the governing documents of a condominium or common interest community.  Essentially, rules adopted by the Association may not unreasonably increase the cost of installation or reduce the effectiveness of the charging station.

While SB 13-126 does not permit a landlord or association to charge a fee for installation of the charging station, the costs to operate the system may be charged to owners who access the system.  However, this may cause problems if multiple owners are permitted to charge on the same station (which is permitted by the bill). Associations may find themselves having accounting complications when trying to assess costs to owners.  Additionally, there are likely to be concerns over the location of these devises.  While well intentioned, if passed, this bill will cause headaches for many associations.

David A. Firmin