NEW BOSTON ORDINANCE REGARDING ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS

Published on: January 15, 2019

As one of the final acts of the 2017/2018 Massachusetts legislation session, the House and Senate passed and the Governor signed a City of Boston Home Rule Petition relative to electric vehicle charging stations at condominiums and other community associations in Boston. It is important to note that this bill only pertains to the City of Boston, and does not affect any other cities or towns in Massachusetts.

Pursuant to the new Boston ordinance a condominium, homeowners association, cooperative, or other community association may not prohibit or unreasonably restrict an owner from installing an electric vehicle charging station (EVCS) on or in areas subject to the owner’s separate interest, exclusive interest, or on a common element so long as it is within a reasonable distance from the owner’s dedicated parking space. Therefore, an owner has the right to install an EVCS in his/her own parking space, or on the common areas (within a reasonable distance from the owner’s parking space).

The bill does permit the association’s board to impose reasonable restrictions on the installation and use of the EVCS. However, such restrictions shall not significantly increase the cost of the station, significantly decrease its efficiency, or effectively prohibit the installation altogether.

In addition to any reasonable restrictions that may be imposed by the association’s board, the bill specifically includes the following rules and regulations regarding the installation and use of the EVCS:

  • Installation shall be at the owner’s expense, all work must be done by a licensed contractor and/or electrician, and the EVCS shall meet and be subject to all applicable permits, codes, requirements, etc.
  • The owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the EVCS.
  • The owner is responsible for any damage to the common areas caused by the EVCS.
  • The owner must connect the EVCS to his/her own electricity utility account unless that is not possible, in which event, the association shall allow the owner to connect the EVCS to the common electricity account, but may require reimbursement by the owner to the association for the electricity costs.
  • The owner is responsible to remove the EVCS if necessary for the maintenance of the common areas.

Pursuant to the ordinance, the association may require that the owner submit an application to the board before installation; however, if the application is not denied in 60 days, the application is deemed approved. The association may not charge the owner any fees for the placement of the EVCS.

As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, we suspect that boards will start receiving more and more requests for installation of EVCS. We would encourage associations to implement a procedure and application process for handling such requests so that they are reviewed in a uniform and timely manner.  In addition, in order to control the spread of EVCS on the property, boards might want to consider taking the proactive step of installing an EVCS in the common areas for the use of all owners.

If you have any questions regarding how this new Boston ordinance might impact your association please do not hesitate to contact Matthew W. Gaines at mgaines@meeb.com.