Property Management

Powering Electric Cars from the Common Area Garage – Who Pays?

Powering electric cars from the common area garage

Electric cars have finally started to take off in the US market. And while your neighbors might love you for your electric auto’s quiet operation, the necessary charging could become an issue of contention if done from the common garage area of your building.

Generally speaking, common area power outlets can be used by any resident, the assumption being that any power needs in the common area will be brief. However, the necessity of charging an electric automobile every night is the type of regular (and heavy) power usage that residents would typically have to assume responsibility for.

Likely, noone will raise a fuss about it at first. But as the nightly activity continues, you can expect an eventual phone call from the association.

This Canadian man ran into the same problem last year, when his association prohibited him from using the common outlet to charge his vehicle. He had calculated that it would cost the building about $24 per month, and offered to pay them $50 a month to use the outlet. The association would not allow this system, due to the inability to measure his exact power usage and the ensuing potential unfairness to the association and other residents. The association did offer the man the option of installing a separate meter for that outlet (at a cost of $2000), which he would then be responsible for.

Not all associations will be this stringent, but keep in ming that charging your vehicle from a common outlet might become an issue. You might have to come up with alternative arrangements, like charging your vehicle at work. Or, associations might wise up and put pay-per-use outlets in the common areas.

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