Written by: Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.
On October 19, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law legislation that establishes standards regarding electric vehicle (“EV”) charging stations in all New Jersey common interest communities. This comprehensive legislation prohibits community associations from unreasonably restricting EV charging infrastructure and establishes standards to encourage associations to allow for the installation, use, and upkeep of EV charging stations by owners. This legislation went into effect immediately on the date it was signed by the Governor.
Some of the most important provisions in the new legislation include:
- Any current deed restrictions that would unreasonably prevent the installation of EV charging stations in associations are now void and unenforceable;
- Associations cannot adopt rules or regulations that prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation of EV charging stations in the designated parking spaces of an owner;
- Associations can impose “reasonable restrictions” on the installation and use of EV charging stations, provided that the restrictions do not significantly increase the cost of the charging station or significantly decrease the efficiency or performance of the charging station;
- Association boards are required to grant licenses over and across the common areas to the extent necessary for an owner to install utility lines in the owner’s designated parking space;
- Association boards are authorized to grant licenses for the exclusive use of a common area parking space to an owner for the purposes of installing an EV charging station;
- If approval of the association is required for the installation of EV charging stations, owners must seek approval and any such application must be processed and approved in the same manner as that of an architectural modification;
- Associations must approve such applications if the owner: (1) complies with all the requirements of the legislation, including engaging a licensed contractor and a licensed electrician to install the EV charging station; (2) obtains, maintains, and provides evidence of insurance protecting the association and other owners; and (3) pays for the electricity usage and other reasonable charges associated with the EV charging station;
- Associations may deny such applications if the association reasonably concludes that the EV charging stations constitutes a life-safety risk;
- If an application for the installation of EV charging station is not denied in writing within sixty (60) days from receipt, it will be deemed approved;
- If an association reasonably determines that the amount of electricity attributable to the EV charging station requires the installation of additional infrastructure, the association can require the owners who have installed, or applied to install, EV charging stations to equally cover the cost of the additional infrastructure;
- In addition, an association can require an owner to pay for reasonable charges incurred by the association for the review and approval of an application including, without limitation, reasonable engineering and legal fees;
- The legislation imposes on the owner, as well as any successive owner, numerous requirements, including the responsibility for any and all costs and/or damages from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of any EV charging station as well as certain insurance obligations; and
- The legislation authorizes associations to create parking spaces to facilitate the installation of EV charging stations and/or to install EV charging stations in common element parking spaces for the use of all owners.
You can read the full legislation by clicking here.
If you have questions about this or any other issues with your community association, please contact one of our community association attorneys.