Top 5 tips to install electric vehicle charging stations on the common elements

April 19, 2022 | Jason Rivait

The Government of Canada has set targets for cars and passenger trucks to be zero-emissions by 2035. As the days and years pass, the number of electric vehicles on the road and in condominiums substantially increase. In the event a condominium corporation wishes to install an electric vehicle charging station on the common elements, there are a handful of issues for condominium corporations to consider.

1. Compliance with the Condominium Act, 1998 (the “Act”)

Section 24.3 of Ontario Regulation 48/01 provides that a condominium corporation may install an electric charging station on the common elements in the event the following criteria are met:

  1. The board has conducted an assessment regarding the cost of the installation;
  2. The estimated cost is not greater than 10% of the corporation’s current annual budget;
  3. 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 units that they own or common elements or assets, if any, of the corporation;
  4. The corporation has sent notice to the owners that describes the installation and contains statements that the installation will not cause a material reduction or elimination of the owners use or enjoyment of the unit or common elements and the estimated costs to install and how the corporation intends to pay; and
  5. At least 60 days have passed since the corporation sent the notice.

Once the above requirements have been met, the corporation may carry out the installation.

If the costs are greater than 10% of the condominium corporation’s annual budget or if the board is of the opinion that the installation would cause a material reduction or elimination of their use or enjoyment of the units or common elements, then a different process must be followed. Specifically, the condominium corporation needs to send a notice to the owners that contains the following:

  1. A description of the installation, the estimated costs and how the corporation intends to pay;
  2. A statement that the board believes that the owners would regard the installation as causing a material reduction or elimination of the use or enjoyment of the units that they own or the common elements;
  3. A statement that the owners have a right to requisition a meeting within 60 days of receiving the notice;
  4. A copy of section 46 of the Act and section 24.2 of Ontario Regulation 48/01; and
  5. Any other information that the by-laws of the corporation require.

Under this process, the corporation may carry out the installation if the owners have not requisitioned a meeting within 60 days or if a meeting was requisitioned and the owners did not vote against the installation.

2. General Operating vs. Reserve

All costs associated with the installation of electric vehicle charging station on the common elements are considered common expenses. Unfortunately, this installation cannot be funded from the reserve fund as such installations are not major repairs or replacements to the common elements.

Amendments to the Act were previously floated to permit condominium corporations to use reserve funds for this expenditure but they were ultimately pushed aside. That said, future amendments are being discussed which may provide some leeway regarding the financing of these installations.

3. Visitor Parking

A common thought from condominium corporations is to install the electric vehicle charging station in the visitor parking spaces of the property. Most declarations will contain language regarding the specific use of visitor parking spaces. Commonly, declarations will provide that the use of visitor parking spaces shall be for visitors to the building and for no other purpose.

If visitors are only permitted to park in visitor parking spaces, then an electric charging station in such parking spaces would be of limited value to the residents. Additionally, if residents parked in visitor parking spaces to charge their vehicle (even if only for an hour or two), then such residents would be in contravention of the declaration and the condominium corporation would be obliged to enforce compliance.

4. Status Certificates

In the event a condominium corporation is considering making an expenditure that is not budgeted for, then the common expenses payable for the units may increase. If this is a possibility, then the condominium corporation must disclose this fact at paragraph 12 of the status certificate.

5. Electric Vehicle Consultant

Condominium corporations need to determine whether its existing infrastructure will permit the installation of one or many electric vehicle charging systems. There may be value in connecting with an engineer or electric vehicle consultant to review the options available for condominium corporations in the event they wish to install additional electric vehicle charging stations at the property. The proportional cost of such infrastructure updates (i.e. a new panel), assuming such installations are primarily intended to facilitate unit owners to install electric vehicle charging stations in their parking units, may be able to be passed on to unit owners wishing to make such installations to their parking units.

Additionally, there are a host of financial incentives that are available to condominium corporations and unit owners regarding the installation of electric vehicles.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Top 6 considerations for new condominiums.

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