On January 2, 2019, the Governor signed into law a Home Rule Petition for the City of Boston establishing the “right to charge” for condominium unit owners. The new law allows Boston condominium unit owners to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on or near their parking spaces, subject to reasonable restrictions which the condominium association may impose. The new law will take effect February 1, 2019.
The new law allows Boston condominium unit owners to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on or near their parking spaces, subject to reasonable restrictions which the condominium association may impose.
The legislation states that an association cannot prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation of an EV charging station and specifically provides that:
▪ The association must approve or deny the request or application in writing. If the request is not acted upon in writing within 60 days, the application will be deemed approved (unless the delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information); and
▪ The association cannot charge fees for placement of the station.
The legislation also outlines certain owner responsibilities to include:
▪ Cost of installation, maintenance, repair and replacement of the EV station;
▪ Any cost for damage to the charging station, common areas or other interests resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal or replacement of the charging station;
▪ Cost of electricity (which may require sub-metering or sub-billing); and
▪ Ensuring that the EV station is installed by a licensed contractor and/or electrician and meet all federal, state and local legal requirements.
Boston condominium associations should consider whether their current rules and processes for handling requests to install EV charging stations are responsive to, and compliant with, this new law. Associations may also want to have standard applications for EV charging station requests and unit owner license agreements for approved applications. Associations will want to ensure that there are appropriate, reasonable restrictions protecting the common areas, including allocating responsibility for maintaining architectural standards, indemnification rights, insurance coverage, any required upgrades to the electrical system and unauthorized use of the EV charging station.
Boston Tidbits: What We’re Tracking
On January 15, 2019, in the annual State of the City Address, Boston Mayor Walsh formally outlined and highlighted certain parts of his proposed 2019-2020 legislative agenda, including several housing bills. The housing bills include a mix of proposals designed to increase revenue for affordable housing production, codify the City’s Inclusionary Development Policy, and expand tenant protections. A summary of the proposals can be found here.
Boston City Councilors have also kicked off the new year by filing several new housing bills, including their own measure to address the City’s Inclusionary Development Policy, a proposed investor and commercial property transfer fee of up to 6% on real estate transfers over 2 million dollars, and a proposal to extend the City’s Condominium Conversion Ordinance which would otherwise sunset in December.