In 2018, the world saw a 64% increase in the use of electric vehicles (“EVs”), rising from 3.4 million to 5.6 million[i]. Today, over 26 million EVs are in operation.[ii] Given the growing number of EVs used today, boards and managers need to understand the law on EVs and how it applies to Colorado community associations.
Summary of Law
On May 3, 2013, SB13-126 (“EV Bill”) was signed into law and added to the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) as C.R.S. 38-33.3-106.8. In summary, the EV Bill prohibits a residential (not commercial) association from denying an owner:
- The right to use or install a Level 1 or Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging System (“EV System”);
- At the owner’s expense;
- In certain locations;
- Subject to additional regulations related to safety, registration of the EV System, and aesthetics, and subject to the owner’s agreeing to certain conditions related to design, installation, expense and insurance of the EV System.
The original law limited an owner’s right to install an EV System to the unit and certain Limited Common Element spaces. However, HB23-1233, which was signed on May 23, 2023, expanded the locations in which an owner may install an EV System. HB23-1233 now allows an owner to install an EV System in the following locations:
- A unit; or
- An assigned or deeded parking space that is part of or assigned to a unit; or
- A parking space that is accessible to both the unit owner and other unit owners.
HB23-1233 also allows the association to restrict parking based on a vehicle being a plug-in hybrid vehicle or plug-in electric vehicle.
FAQs on EV Systems
- Can Associations Ban the Installation of EV Systems?
Residential associations may not ban installation of EV Systems on the locations discussed below, assuming the owner complies with certain conditions.
Commercial associations are not subject to the EV Bill and may continue to ban installation of EV Systems, at their discretion.
- Where Must an Association Allow EV Systems to be Installed?
- Within the unit/lot boundaries.
For most single-family home communities, the Lots usually include the garage and driveway. Some single family attached home communities (townhomes, row homes, etc.) might also have boundaries that extend to the garage and driveway. With condos, however, parking spaces are usually outside the unit boundaries.
- In an assigned or deeded parking space that is part of or assigned to a Unit.
Typically, an assigned parking space is identified as a Limited Common Element (“LCE”), which is a Common Element component that is exclusively used by one or more, but less than all, units. Look to the declaration and/or plat or condo map to determine whether a parking space is an LCE or assigned to a particular unit. Also, a parking space might be deeded to a particular unit.
- In a parking space that is accessible to both the Unit Owner and other Unit Owners.
A parking space that is accessible to both the unit owner and other unit owners would likely include any General Common Element (“GCE”) parking space (such as a GCE parking lot or garage) that all owners are able to use. Previous to HB23-1233, an owner’s right to install an EV System was limited to the unit and LCE or other assigned parking spaces. The law now allows installation on GCE spaces.
- Can the Association Require the Owner to Comply with Certain Conditions Before Approving an EV System?
Yes. The association may:
- Adopt bona fide safety requirements, which the owner must follow;
- Require the owner to register the EV System with the association within 30 days after installation;
- Adopt reasonable aesthetic provisions governing the dimensions, placement, or external appearance of the EV System.
In addition, if the owner is installing the EV System on a LCE parking space, carport, or garage owned by the owner or otherwise assigned to the owner in the declaration or other recorded document, the owner must agree in writing to:
- Comply with the association’s design specifications for the EV System, if any;
- Use only a duly licensed and registered electrical contractor familiar with the installation and core requirements of EV Systems;
- Pay for installation, including costs to restore Common Elements disturbed in the process; and
- Comply with the insurance requirements set forth in the EV Bill.
- Who Pays for Installing the EV System?
The owner. If the owner damages any LCE, GCE, or any adjacent units, garage stalls, carports, or parking spaces when installing the EV System, the owner is responsible for the cost of damage.
The owner also pays for electricity. If the association provides the electricity, then it may either:
- Require reimbursement for the actual cost of electricity used, or
- Charge a reasonable fee for access to the electricity.
If reimbursing for actual cost of electricity and if the unit is not separately metered, then a separate meter or some other device may be installed, at the owner’s cost, to read the electricity used by the EV System.
If charging a reasonable fee for access, associations should consult their electricity providers for what’s considered reasonable. If the EV System is part of a network for which a network fee is charged, reimbursement may include the amount of the network fee.
- Who Pays for Maintaining the EV System?
The owner. This includes costs for damage to the EV System, and any other LCE, GCE, or adjacent units, garage stalls, carports, or parking spaces arising or resulting from the maintenance, repair or replacement of the EV System.
The owner must also remove the EV System “if reasonably necessary or convenient for the repair, maintenance, or replacement of the Limited Common Elements or General Common Elements of the Common Interest Community.”
- Who Insures the EV System?
The owner. If an EV System is installed on an LCE, then unless otherwise specified in a written contact or the declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations, the owner:
- Must maintain an insurance policy covering the owner’s obligations under Subsection 5 of the EV Bill (this section covers maintenance, repair, removal, and replacement of the EV System, and any related damage);
- Is subject to the certificate of insurance obligations stated in Subsection 4(b)(IV) of the EV Bill (see below for clarification), and
- Must name the association as an additional insured under the policy.
With respect to certificates of insurance, Subsection 4(b)(IV) requires:
- The owner to provide certificate of insurance naming the association as an additional insured on the owner’s policy for any claim related to installation, maintenance, or use of the EV System, within 14 days after receiving the association’s consent, or
- If the EV System is located on a common element, reimbursement to the association for the actual cost of any increased insurance premium amount attributable to the EV System, within 14 days after receiving the association’s invoice for the amount attributable to the EV System.
- Are There Any Dangers to Installing EV Systems?
Maybe. But we’re not experts. The board needs to speak with experts about limits, safety issues, etc., so as to craft the appropriate safety regulations for its community. Keep in mind that the association is able to adopt bona fide safety requirements consistent with an applicable building code or recognized safety standard. This may require a limitation of the number of EV Systems that may be installed in any given building. Also, regardless of the insurance obligations required for an owner, the association should be speaking with its own insurance carrier to determine adequate coverage under the association’s policy.
- Must an Owner Remove the EV System if Selling the Unit?
No. Upon sale if the EV System is removable, the owner may either remove it or sell it to the buyer of the unit or to the association. Neither the buyer or the association must purchase the System.
However, if the EV System is not removed, then the EV Bill states that each successive owner with exclusive rights to an LCE space in which the EV System is installed “shall assume responsibility for the repair, maintenance, removal and replacement of the charging EV System until the EV System has been removed.”
- Must the Association Allow Tenants to Install EV Systems?
Colorado law does not require associations to allow tenants or non-owner residents to install EV Systems. However, the EV Bill imposes restrictions on landlords that are similar to those imposed on associations. So, any tenants who wish to install an EV System will have to make the request through the landlord owner, who can then make the request to the association.
- Readiness Checklist
Given the above, what should associations be doing to get ready for more EVs?
- Adopt an EV Charging System Policy, which discusses locations for installation, conditions for installation, and other requirements as set forth above;
- If desirable, adopt design and aesthetic guidelines for the EV System;
- Adopt a standard agreement for owners to sign, as discussed above;
- Speak to experts, including the association’s insurance carrier, to address safety issues and adequate coverage; and
- Consider whether the association should install its own EV System on the GCE, as an amenity to its owners/residents.
[ii]Trends in Electric Light-Duty Vehicles https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2023/trends-in-electric-light-duty-vehicles