Electric Vehicle Charging Systems in Condos

There has been a lot of talk about electric vehicles in condominiums lately, despite the fact that electric vehicles still represent less than 1% of passenger vehicles in Ontario. The Ontario government hopes to increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads and has created new legislation to make it easier for  owners and condominiums to install electric vehicle charging systems. The new regulations came into force on May 1, 2018.  Installation by Condominiums Ordinarily, when a condominium wants to make an addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements, assets or services it provides to owners it must comply with section 97 of the Act. Section 97 can require notice to the owners and the owners may be entitled to vote in some cases. Situation #1 – Cost less than 10% of budget A condominium is exemption from section 97 if it completes the following:
  1. It has conducted an assessment of the cost to the condominium;
  2. The estimated cost is not greater than 10% of the annual budgeted common expenses for the current fiscal year;
  3. In the reasonable opinion of the board, the owners would not regard the proposed installation as causing a material reduction or elimination of their use or enjoyment of the property;
  4. The condominium has sent notice to the owners; and
  5. At least 60 days have passed since the condominium has sent the notice.
The notice must describe the proposed installation, a statement that it would not cause a material reduction or elimination of the use or enjoyment of the property, a statement of the estimated cost and how the condominium intends to pay for it, and all other information that the by-laws require. For the purposes of calculating the “cost”, the cost does not include any costs for use, operation, repair, maintenance or insurance. Situation #2 – Cost greater than 10% of budget Where the estimated cost is greater than 10% of the annual budgeted common expenses for the current fiscal year, the condominium must satisfy 1, 3 and 4 under Scenario #1. The notice sent to owners must, in addition to the information required under Scenario #1, advise the owners that they have the right to requisition a meeting within 60 days of receiving the notice. A copy of section 46 of the Act and sections 24.2 & 24.3 of O.Reg. 48/01 must be included with the notice. The condominium can proceed with the proposed installation if the owners:
  1. have not requisition a meeting within 60 days of the notice; or
  2. have requisitioned a meeting within 60 days of the notice:
    1. but a quorum is not present at the first meeting; or
    2. a quorum is present and the owners have not voted against the proposed installation.
All costs incurred by the condominium related to the EV charging system are a common expense of the condominium. Installation by Owners The process for installation of an EV charging system by an owner is also modified. Application Process An owner must deliver an application to the condominium that is in writing and signed by the owner, and identifies the owner and their address for service. The condominium must help the owner determine the information the owner must provide (i.e. any drawings, specifications or information) so the condominium may obtain a professional’s opinion regarding the proposed installation. Upon receipt of the application the condominium must:
  1. Notify the owner of any deficiencies in the application as soon as reasonably possible; or
  2. Respond to the owner to inform them of the board’s decision within 60 days.
The condominium and owner can agree to change the time periods in the regulations. Approval The board may only reject the application if it has an opinion from a qualified professional that indicates the proposed installation will:
  1. be contrary to a statute or regulations;
  2. adversely affect the structural integrity of the property; or
  3. pose a serious risk to the health and safety of an individual or of damage to the property.
When faced with the opinion described above, the condominium may approve the application, reject it or require changes to it (in accordance with the regulations). A copy of the opinion must be included in the response to the owner, but the condominium may redact parts excluded by subsection 55(4) of the Act. Agreement The condominium and owner must enter into an agreement that:
  1. is in writing;
  2. allocates the cost of the system;
  3. defines who owns it;
  4. sets out the duties for use, operation, repair, maintenance and insurance of the system;
  5. indicates who is responsible for the cost of preparing and registering the agreement;
  6. addresses the end of the system and termination of the agreement.
The condominium and owner are responsible for their own costs of the application, unless they agree otherwise in the agreement. The agreement is not effective until registered. Enforcement & Disputes The condominium can recover any costs, charges, interest and expenses related to the owner’s failure to comply with an agreement from the owner. The mediation and arbitration provisions within the Act apply to a dispute over a proposal by an owner to install an EV charging station.  Other Related Changes Some of the prescribed forms require disclosure of proposed EV installations. The status certificate, preliminary notice, and notice of meeting have all been amended recently to reflect these changes. In addition, the regulations were amended to require condominiums to maintain records related to the installation of an EV charging system.