The Community Association Guide to Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Today’s COA or HOA member has different needs than a couple decades or even just a few years ago. Electric vehicle charging stations are an example of this! If this is something you aren’t providing for your community members, you’re missing out on an opportunity to appeal to new members and increase the satisfaction of current ones. Here’s what you need to know about adding charging stations to your community.


Why You Should Add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to Your Community


Electric cars used to be a luxury, but as their accessibility has increased, so has their popularity. And this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Increased awareness of climate change and the impact of everyday tasks on the environment has contributed to increased sales.


Because of this, adding charging stations is a practical step to take for your community. Doing it sooner rather than later can give you a leg up on your competitors. It’s a great selling point!


How to Install Electric Charging Stations


Just like with any major change you make to your community, you need to have an official policy in place to keep things running smoothly in the immediate future as well as the long-term. Payments for the charging stations should clearly be outlined in the documents, as should your scheduling procedure if you have one.


If you’re going to let members install their own charging stations, you also need a policy stating how a member can initiate this process. Make sure you consult your state laws because in some areas (including Florida) it’s illegal to prohibit your  members from installing their own charging stations.


Paying for Charging Stations


Installing charging stations will cost you. Typically, you’ll have to pay somewhere between $850 and $2200 per charging station or even more. But think of this as an investment that will hopefully help attract new residents and maintain current residents for a longer amount of time.


The Association Route


So, who pays for the charging stations? There are a couple of different ways you can go about it. If your association chooses to pay for the stations themselves, you’ll have to shell out a significant amount of money for the investment at once. However, because you will be able to retain the charging stations, many think this investment is worth it.


The cost of maintaining the charging stations will also require some thought. Many  associations choose to calculate their dues with maintenance costs for charging stations factored in. You can pass this cost along to all unit owners or simply those that actually utilize the stations. Both systems have their pros and cons. Having a reliable electric vehicle service provider will go a long way toward stress-free maintenance that will keep your charging stations operating at their peak for years to come!


It’s important that you consider how other members of your  association who don’t use electrical vehicles could be impacted by charging stations. Most notably, adding charging stations could cause their utility bills to rise. To keep the satisfaction of all members high, look into your options for software that can track the electricity use. This will make it easy to separate using the stations from all other electricity uses.


The Members Route


On the other hand, maybe you think the best option is having unit owners pay to install their own charging stations since it will save your community association money. However, there are still important considerations with this as well. For example, the installation of a charging station may be considered an exterior alteration which must be approved by the Architectural Review Committee.


You should require unit owners who have electric cars to submit a detailed proposal for their installation. If you’re going this route, make it abundantly clear that it’s the unit owner’s responsibility to cover all of the costs of installing and maintaining their charging station. To avoid any additional issues, you may want to require unit owners to get plans drawn up by a contractor who is both licensed and insured. The property manager, board members, and legal counsel should thoroughly review these proposals to avoid any foreseeable issues.


Combatting Installation Issues


If your association is in a high-rise, installing charging stations could lead to costly damages. Every charging station will need a parking slot and an outdoor-rated level 2 power outlet. Make sure you can accommodate both without damaging your community before you implement a policy. Getting the installation plan approved by a contractor before they get to work should help you avoid any problems.


It’s important to note that weather conditions, your building codes, and your building’s electrical capacity could cause more issues for your electrical charging station. You’ll have even more problems if your building is an older one. Only a certified electrician will be able to help you navigate these variables and find the solution that benefits the whole community.


Scheduling Charging Times


Sharing charging stations  can cause conflict among unit owners. Since most people work the classic nine to five job, if you have fewer charging stations than electric cars in your neighborhood, you’re bound to deal with residents wanting the same charging times. This is why it’s important to have some kind of scheduling procedure in place. You’ll avoid conflicts and help all residents get the most out of your charging stations. Some communities operate on a first-come-first-served basis, but this may lead to disputes.


When you’re deciding on the best system for your community, consider the demand. If there are quite a few electric cars, you’ll have a greater need for a scheduling system than if you only have a handful of residents currently using electric cars. As the demand for the stations goes up, you can always add a scheduling policy. Just make sure you are communicating your policy to owners, whatever it might be.


Utilize LM Funding to Avoid Delinquent Dues


If assessments are going to be the primary source for maintaining your charging stations the last thing you need to be worried about are delinquent units. LM Funding exists to help associations just like yours avoid the costly and time-consuming collections process. Not to mention we provide cash at the start of a collection that can be put towards charging station installation costs. To discover what we can do for your community, get in touch today!