Electric cars in HOA neighborhoods are not a common sight, at least not today. That said, it’s never too early to prepare for electric vehicles in HOA community properties. HOA electric cars also mean having HOA charging stations, but is your association ready for them? Read on for the finer details on everything from charging stations and EV in HOAs law.
How Do You Prepare for Electric Cars in HOA Communities?
As people become more environmentally conscious and join the green movement, the popularity of electric vehicles has been slowly rising. So, we’re starting to see more Volts, Teslas, and other green vehicles on the streets. As of the end of 2018, about one million electric cars are zipping around the US. Experts also estimate that figure to blow up by 2030 as well. So, by the time 2030 comes around, the number of EVs on roads across the country could well exceed 18 million.
A good number of those EVs will be coming home to HOA communities. That means there are likely a few homeowners in your HOA with these types of electric cars. And it brings up the question of how best to handle electric vehicles in your HOA policy. Will these vehicles find a convenient charger to dock to at that time?
When discussing creating a policy for electric vehicles with your HOA board and HOA management company, there are a few important factors to look at:
1. Infrastructure for Electric Cars in HOA Properties
The first step is to examine whether your association’s infrastructure is able to handle a charging station for electric vehicles. A charging station requires at least a parking space and a power outlet. Not just any outlet, as well. Ideally, you want to have an outdoor-rated Level 2 charger, which is the kind most owners of electric vehicles want to use.
If you can do this in your HOA, will the spot be designated to a certain owner or be made public for many? Figuring out these details will also help you create an effective policy.
2. New Updates to EV in HOAs Law
Updates to civil codes related to electric vehicles are coming up all the time, so your HOA needs to do a bit of research to not fall behind. For example, California alone has modified its laws no less than three times to expand the scope of EV charging stations in HOAs. The latest update, as covered by SB 2016, further expands the California Civil Code to allow homeowners to install EV charging stations in their own units.
So, effective January 1, 2019, homeowners in California now have the right to put up their own charging stations. Even condo unit owners are covered, even if their unit does not have an adjoining garage. Of course, the homeowner will have to pay for the electricity usage for that charging station, and the initial cost of installing it as well.
3. Cost of Electricity
Consider how electricity will be paid for. It costs around a few hundred dollars per car per year for electric cars, which isn’t bad. But, still, those amounts also have to be accounted for.
Some states, like California, have moved forward towards providing regulations for EVs and their use of electricity. In other states, HOAs are now facing a complex decision.
One option is to have the HOA pay for the electricity. Or, you could use a meter to calculate electricity use and bill the owners of the vehicles that way. With this option, you’d need to make sure the usage was being reported accurately. Plus, you may also need to hire someone to regularly read and maintain the meter as well.
A third option would be to estimate the cost of electricity and charge an annual fee to all electric vehicle owners.
The Three Courses of Action
After you’ve figured out how the cost and infrastructure would be handled, it’s time to choose your strategy. We give three options here.
1. Create Charging Stations
If you have guest spots in your community, those could be potentially converted into charging spots for electric vehicles. Although you would lose the spots, you’re able to add an amenity that is centralized on the property and looks good to prospective members.
Yes, it could be an additional cost to the association to put up these charging stations for common use. On the other hand, the HOA has an opportunity here to attract homeowners who drive EVS to their community. With the increasing popularity of electric cars in HOA neighborhoods, this seems to be a more feasible idea as time goes on.
2. Let Owners Install Outlets
Another option would be allowing homeowners with electric cars to install their own outlets—at their own expense—in their parking spots or garages. This is an option that is already allowed by regulations in certain states.
The downside is that you have to decide if you need to have your own regulations when it comes to the installation and use of EV charging stations. You also might then be dealing with outlets installed haphazardly around your community.
Some charging stations are discrete additions you would hardly notice. Others may not be so subtle. Your HOA architectural committee will have to decide on how to adopt charging stations in your community in such a way as not to detract from your current aesthetic standards.
3. Don’t Do Anything
There’s always the option of doing nothing. This is the easiest short-term solution, especially if there aren’t a large number of electric car owners in your HOA. You might decide that the costs associated with getting a community electric vehicle-ready aren’t worth it for now.
Electric Cars in HOA Communities: Preparing for the Future
One thing remains for certain. Electric cars in HOA communities are coming, and as trends go, they look like they’ll be here for good. The advantages of EVs are simply too good to ignore, especially if you’re promoting a greener community for your association. Do a bit of research, and check with your trusted property management company on the best options you can take.