As Canadians become increasingly concerned about the
environment, car companies are responding by adding electric
vehicles to their offerings. Electric vehicles are becoming more
and more popular with Canadians and the trend is likely to
continue. Currently, Ontario consumers are eligible for rebates of
up to $8,500 for the purchase of certain electric vehicles and the
cost of an electric vehicle is only expected to go down as time
goes on. One Toronto condominium developer has gone as far as to
offer a free electric car to the first 20 purchasers of parking
spaces with an electric charger.
Most existing condominiums were not built to accommodate the
installation of electric car chargers in parking spaces. However,
considering recent trends, it was only a matter of time before
existing condominiums are going to have to deal with requests for
the installation of chargers. Many previous requests made to
condominium boards were not approved either because of the
perceived complications involved in the installation process or
because these boards took the "wait and see" approach to
determine how the market for electric vehicles would evolve. It is
safe to say that electric cars are here to stay and are not some
passing fade. As a result, condominiums cannot continue with either
approach and, boards of directors need to start thinking about how
to deal with these requests.
Some corporations have considered installing car charging
stations that can be shared. This is not a practical solution
in most cases given the differing needs of residents. A more
feasible approach is to permit the installation of electric
charging stations in individual parking spaces where possible. This
will require the unit owner to enter into an agreement with the
condominium corporation pursuant to section 98 of the
Condominium Act, 1998, which addresses changes made to the
common elements by unit owners. The agreement would set out
clearly that the unit owner is responsible for all costs associated
with the electric charger including its installation and use. The
agreement would be registered on title to the owner's unit.
Even if the parking space is a unit, changes will have to be made
to the common element electrical supply to bring electricity to the
In this case, a sub-meter will also have to be installed to
measure the consumption of electricity by the owner who will be
responsible for the cost of that consumption. The installation must
be carried out by a qualified electrician/contractor who is
certified by Measurements Canada. An agreement will then have to be
entered into with a sub-metering company to read the sub-meter and
provide regular invoices for the hydro consumption based on the
readings of the sub-meter. It may also be possible for the unit
owner to enter into the sub-metering agreement directly with the
sub-metering provider. Alternatively, it may be the Corporation who
is required to enter in to this agreement, in which case the
agreement between the unit owner and the Corporation will provide
that all costs billed to the Corporation from the sub-metering
company will be added to the common expenses payable for the
owner's unit. The agreement will also have to provide that the
owner is responsible to insure, maintain and repair the sub-meter
and electric charging station.
Another consideration will be what happens when the electric car
charger is no longer required, either because the owner no longer
has an electric car or sells the unit to someone who does not have
one. The Corporation will likely want to ensure that everything
remains in place except for the sub-meter which may be removed if
the electric charger is no longer in use. In that case, the unit
owner should be responsible to hire a qualified electrician to take
whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the electric charger
can no longer be used until a new sub-meter is installed.
It may be that some spaces simply cannot accommodate an electric
charger or that, in some cases, the cost to bring electricity to
the space is prohibitive. There may be little the corporation
can do in these situations. However, the majority of parking spaces
may be able to accommodate electric chargers and as a result,
the boards of directors and management should be open to finding
ways to accommodate requests while taking the necessary steps to
protect the corporation and ensure that owners are fully
responsible for all costs associated with their installation and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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