The province is seeking your input on proposed changes to the Condo Act which would make it easier to install and access electric vehicle charging stations in existing condos. The province recently issued a “plain language” summary of the changes being proposed and seeks your opinion on it. Now is the time to prepare the future.
The challenge of electric cars in condos
Electric cars are no longer a dream of the future or the works of science fiction. Mainstream car manufacturers are offering an increasing number of options from hybrid cars to fully electrical ones. These present significant savings for the owners and are much friendlier to the environment. While it would be hard to find someone actually opposed to electric cars, their arrival in the condo world can create challenges. In fact, the media has already reported various stories of “friction” between environmentally conscious owners and condo corporations. I was interviewed by CBC on this no too long ago. You can also listen to the full radio interview here.
Sometimes, the problem results from owners not fully understanding what they own (Do they own the actual parking spot? Do they own the electric outlet near it?). Other times the problem has more to do with who is going to pay for the installation and for the electricity being used and whether the corporation’s grid can accommodate an increased demand. Corporations must also consider the requirement to consult owners if changes are required to the declaration or the rules and owners have to consider the requirement to enter into a section 98 agreement if the common elements are going to be modified. At the end of the day, the issue mainly revolves around cost: who will pay for what?
We have developed an Electric Vehicle Policy for condo corporations wishing to address these questions fairly.
What is being proposed by the province?
In the context of the province’s sweeping changes to the Condo Act, it is now proposing changes which would make it easier to install and access charging stations in existing condominiums. While the province has not circulated actual proposed language, it has issued a “plain language” summary of what is being proposed and asks for your opinion.
The province appears to be contemplating possible changes along the following lines:
- The possibility of lowering to 50% the required owners support when a change is required to the Declaration to accommodate a parking spot swap between owners to facilitate access to a charging station;
- The possible elimination of the requirements to provide certain notices and to seek owner approval when changes are required to common elements, assets of the corporation or services provided by the corporation to accommodate a charging station. These changes would facilitate the process behind section 97 or 98 changes to common elements;
- Possibly imposing on corporations the obligation to install charging stations at the request of owners when certain conditions are met such as:
- When the installation complies with applicable safety requirements and codes;
- When the equipment is installed by a licensed electrical contractor;
- When the owner assumes the installation, electrical and modifications costs;
- When the owner assumes the cost of carrying insurance and undertakes to indemnify the corporation as required;
- When the condo owner agrees to obtain and pay for an electrical capacity audit if needed and if directed by the corporation; ….
- Note that, even when these conditions are met, the proposal by the province could allow corporations to refuse such a request if the installation would adversely affect the electrical capacity or structural integrity of the condominium property or assets, or if the installation would result in substantial expense to the corporation.
- The possibility of allowing the use of reserve fund monies to pay for electrical capacity upgrades to support charging equipment. It is worth noting that the proposal by the province also provides that Reserve Fund Studies would be required to include the estimated costs to install EV charging infrastructure by 2022.;
- The possibility of imposing on corporations the installation of at least two Level-2 charging stations (using 240 volts systems) upon the written request of at least 5 units or 5% of the units.
The province’s “plain language” proposition is far more details and really requires a careful review by those interested.
The province is inviting your input and comments by January 2, 2018.
You can provide your comments by mail at 56 Wellesley st. West, 6th floor, Toronto, M7A 1C1 or by email. Make sure to quote Proposal Number 17-MGCS021.
The province is also inviting your comments on this topic via a survey.