Highlights of New Jersey’s New Law Regarding Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Community Associations

January 23rd, 2021 | Community Association Law Blog

By Eric F. Frizzell

New Jersey has enacted a new, multi-faceted law regulating the installation and use of electric vehicle charging stations – EVCS’s – in community associations. Key details of the law include:

• A community association may not adopt or enforce any restriction of any kind that prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of an EVCS in a parking space (including a garage, deeded space, or limited common element space) that is specifically designated for use by a particular unit owner.

• An association’s board must grant a unit owner use of any portion of a common element to install and use an EVCS in the owner’s designated parking space, if the space complies with the new law’s requirements and the installation/use requires reasonable access through the common elements for utility lines or meters.

• If an association requires approval for the installation or use of an EVCS, the application for approval must be processed in the same manner as applications to approve an architectural modification to the property. If an application is not denied within 60 days from the date it is received, it is deemed approved unless the delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.

• An EVCS must meet applicable health and safety, zoning, and land use requirements imposed by State and local authorities.

• An association must approve a unit owner’s application to install an EVCS if it complies with all of the new law’s requirements and the unit owner agrees to (1) comply with the association’s architectural standards; (2) engage a licensed electrician to install all necessary electric lines and infrastructure; (3) maintain specified insurance; (4) pay for electricity usage for the EVCS; and (5) pay the association’s reasonable charges, including engineering and legal fees, to review the application. However, an association may deny the application if the association reasonably concludes that the EVCS constitutes a life-safety risk.

• If an association reasonably determines that the cumulative use of electricity on its premises due to the installation and use of EVCS’s requires the installation of additional infrastructure improvements to provide the premises with a sufficient supply of electricity, the association is allowed to hold in abeyance an application for approval until the upgrades are completed. The association also is permitted to (1) specially assess the cost of those improvements to those unit owners who have installed EVCS’s and applied to install an EVCS, with each EVCS being assessed an equal share and (2) require a unit owner to pay the special assessment before being permitted to install the EVCS.

• A unit owner who owns an EVCS, and each successor owner, is individually responsible for the cost of the following items, unless the association’s governing documents specifically abrogate that responsibility: (1) any damage that results from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal or replacement of the EVCS; (2) any maintenance, repair, or replacement of the EVCS and restoration of the area if the EVCS is removed; (3) the electricity usage for the EVCS; (4) all installation costs for the EVCS; (5) all costs associated with the unit owner’s application to install/use the EVCS that are incurred to satisfy applicable governmental requirements.

• If a unit owner who owns an EVCS fails to maintain the required insurance, the association may obtain it on the owner’s behalf and charge the owner back the cost.

• A unit owner who owns an EVCS must hold the association and all other unit owners harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, costs and expenses relating to any personal injuries, death, or property damage caused by the installation, removal or use of the EVCS.

• Each owner of an EVCS is responsible for disclosing to prospective buyers of the owner’s unit the existence of the EVCS and the owner’s related responsibilities.

• An association’s board, at its sole discretion, may grant a license to a unit owner, for a defined period of time, for the exclusive use of a common area parking space to install an EVCS.

• An association may install EVCS’s in common element parking spaces for the use of all unit owners, and may adopt rules and regulations for their use.

• An association may create a parking space where one did not previously exist in order to facilitate the installation of an EVCS.

Please feel free to reach out to our law firm for guidance in implementing and complying with the law’s requirements.

For information about how your community association may be able to obtain a grant from the State of New Jersey to assist in offsetting the cost of purchasing and installing EVCS’s in your community, visit the State’s website at drivegreen.nj.gov.

This bulletin is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.