Written by: George C. Greatrex

With today’s high cost of gasoline and the growing trend to be more environmentally conscious, it’s just a matter of time before you receive your first application for approval of a unit owner’s installation and use of an electric vehicle charging station. The question is, are you ready?

Until 2 years ago, common interest community associations in New Jersey did not have to approve such an application. However, a New Jersey law went into effect on October 19, 2020, which states that “a planned real estate development shall not adopt or enforce a restriction, covenant, bylaw, rule, regulation, master deed provision of a governing document prohibiting or unreasonably restricting the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station in a designated parking spot.” (NJSA 45:22A-48.4). The law defines “designated parking spot” as “a parking space that is specifically designated for use by a particular unit owner, including but not limited to a garage, a deeded parking space, and a parking space in a limited common element that is restricted for use by one or more unit owners.”

Fortunately for common interest communities, the law allows them to impose several reasonable guidelines and restrictions on the installation and use of such EVCS. This includes but is not limited to insurance requirements and licensing requirements of the installation contractors, as well as the requirement that an architectural change application first be is made and approved by the Association’s Executive Board.

It is important to note that the law also places a 60-day limitation on the time within which any community association must respond to the homeowner’s application – otherwise the application will automatically be deemed approved. Depending on the nature of the proposed installation, this could be disastrous for a community association.

Rather than waiting to receive your first application, we recommend all community associations be proactive and prepare now for this eventuality. This preparation includes surveying your community to determine the level of interest in EVCS among your residents, engaging an electrician and engineer to inspect your properties to gain a sense of what the best installations would be for your community, and engaging your association attorney to prepare an EVCS policy resolution (with a license agreement) for the association and its members to follow going forward.

Contact the attorneys in the Community Associations Department of Hill Wallack LLP for any legal assistance you may need while preparing your community for the installation and use of EVCS.