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Can HOA in CA force me to go with their Chargepoint setup instead of getting my own charger?

Can HOA in CA force me to go with their Chargepoint setup instead of getting my own charger?

I live in a condo complex where I have two assigned parking spots in an underground garage. The complex, which opened two years ago, uses Chargepoint for their charging solution. The problem is that it seems insanely expensive to me- $2,500 for installation, $2,500 for the charger itself, and $20/month for the property management to maintain the CP account.
My question is, under state law, do I have any rights as far as installing my own charger? The property management straight up says that that isn't an option, I haven't brought it up with the HOA board yet. I just know that in my previous condo which had no charging options, some neighbors were able to hire an electrician with the correct insurance coverage and get their own chargers installed in their spots, once they got the approval of the board.
Can my HOA/property management company really force me to go with Chargepoint? Do I have any laws supporting me if I were to go to the board and request this alternate?

EVRider | 4 March 2019

Here in Florida condo associations and HOAs operate differently and have different laws -- maybe in CA it's different.

I would start by looking at the declaration of covenants or equivalent document to see whether there's anything relevant there, but chances are the board does have the ability to dictate which charging solution you can use, especially if you're installing it in a common element.

Kathy Applebaum | 4 March 2019

Who is paying for the electricity? If they are billing you, that's probably why they require the Chargepoint solution.

Given that the garage is part of the common area, which means it's not your property, you probably don't have a lot of say.

TeslaTap.com | 4 March 2019

Wow - $5K + $20/month - what a scam. I wonder if someone on the condo board is getting a kickback from Chargepoint? Those charges seems ridiculous to me, especially since all you need is a NEMA 14-50 or perhaps a lower amperage connector and perhaps a seperate meter. I'd get a copy of the HOA rules and see what it says.

Hush.williams | 4 March 2019

Well in the current situation with the Chargepoint chargers, they HOA is paying and each user is then being billed accordingly.
But there is nothing to prevent- as my neighbors did at my previous condo- me from getting a charger installed that taps directly into my own existing meter, its just a matter of conduit and insurance coverage. Except there is something preventing me, the property management.
I do know that these Chargepoint chargers are more expensive than typical chargers bc they are self-metering, but again it could all be avoided if I can just go straight to my existing meter.
I thought for sure that California has some pretty strong regulations benefitting EV owners.

Earl and Nagin ... | 4 March 2019

That sounds about like what I found from Chargepoint a couple of years ago when I was inquiring about a Condo. Condos are a real trick, given all of the political and economic dynamics involved. It may have been necessary to upgrade the electrical service to the complex, in which case, they could have established an exclusive agreement with the HOA in exchange for paying for the upgrade (could be $25K or more).
While expensive, this actually could be a reasonable cost - or you could be being gouged.
The HOA is probably required to be up front about any contracts with Chargepoint.

Dramsey | 4 March 2019

Do you need a charger at all? See if your HOA will allow a simple 240 volt, 50 amp line terminating in a NEMA 14-50 outlet. Then just use your mobile charger cable. That's what I had done when I had a condo in San Jose.

stevenmaifert | 4 March 2019

This is what you are looking for: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=20... They cannot force you to go with ChargePoint, but I think you will find it is still an expensive project.

Yodrak. | 4 March 2019

"there is nothing to prevent- as my neighbors did at my previous condo- me from getting a charger installed that taps directly into my own existing meter, its just a matter of conduit and insurance coverage. "

The enforceability of the EV charging arrangements that your HOA provide of tenants aside, "matter of conduit and insurance coverage" may very well be sufficient to prevent you from getting an EVSE installed that connects to your own meter. You do not fully describe the physical arrangement of the underground parking garage where you have your assigned parking spaces and the location of your meter, or the other details of the service to an from your meter. The HOA's arrangement with ChargePoint may very well be the best, perhaps the only, way to provide EV charging to all tenants who want the service. Perhaps the same arrangement with another EVSE provider would be less expensive, or not. In any case you do not provide sufficient information to understand whether the alternative you suggest is realistic.

blue adept | 4 March 2019

"Pubilc" access areas are considered part of the 'commons', as Kathy mentioned, so the best advice for you at this point is to review your HOA's rules and provisions, as EVRider mentioned, to see if there are any allowances for personal use considerations in the common areas but, FWIW, it's not looking good for you at the moment unless you can manage to find some allowance in the regulations or manage to sway the community/board members.

Good luck.

rxlawdude | 4 March 2019

There are a lot of wildcards here:
Is the garage location impractically far from YOUR UNIT's service entrance (meter)?
What is the cost per kWh from the Chargepoint device? Is it the same as time-of-use residential rate (typically between $.09-.13/kWh? Is it "marked up?"
If you pay $2,000 to install the chargepoint device, do you retain ownership of it when you move? In other words, will all subsequent owners of your spot avoid that $2,000?
What exactly is the $20/mo fee for? That sounds absurdly excessive, unless you pay no more than your utilities rate per kWh.

Hush.williams | 5 March 2019

The location of the meter is approx. 75 feet from my parking spot, it is in the same electrical room that the Chargepoint meters are routed to. The HOA rules and provisions don't have anything in them about EV charging stations, the information I do have is from the property management team, who have gone silent after I inquired about:
-the rate that are charged per Kwh
-my pointing out that the same Chargepoint CPF25 that they are suing (and selling for $2500) can be purchased online for $1500 and whether or not I could just buy it myself

I agree that $20 a month is absurdly expensive. It is, according to them, for property management team to assign someone to review each users bills each month and charge accordingly.

The fact alone that they are charging $1000 above the going price for this particular charger, I think, would lead to the assessment that they aren't offering a reasonable solution, someone is clearly profiting off of this scheme.

Yodrak. | 5 March 2019

You have me wondering what other ways your HOA is ripping off the residents. Perhaps it's time to move. Seriously.

blue adept | 6 March 2019

You are being screwed and should look further into the matter like, for instance, contacting a Chargepoint representative and speaking to them directly.

Earl and Nagin ... | 6 March 2019

Unfortunately, the price doesn't seem too high given some scenarios. If the $2500 includes installation and the device then that's $1500 for the unit and $1,000 for installation which isn't too bad for a 75 ft conduit run. $20/month, will pretty much cover the cost of the network access and billing service.
Unfortunately, networked paid charging costs a lot just for the network connection and the billing service.
Obviously, the ideal situation is to run the conduit to the OP's existing electrical panel and tag the billing costs onto the existing ones for electricity.
Unfortunately, the HOA got suckered by the slick-tongued sales people at Chargepoint.
I'd recommend the OP get a quote and plan from a licensed electrician to install a charger, running it to his/her electrical panel. If this ends up being a lot cheaper, request that the HOA permit you to do the installation. If not, it might be worth taking legal action. Paying for your home electricity billing and your EV charging billing is a bit unreasonable.

El Mirio | 6 March 2019

I would argue to install your own setup and put in a retainer covering the role back of the installation in case you move.

NoMoPetrol | 6 March 2019

A different strategy that doesn't directly help Hush.williams is to proactively set up a 240v/50 amp circuit, complete with city permits, before the HOA gets involved in accommodating EV charging on site.

I fell into this scenario via serendipity. The 120v line to my common area garage stall developed an open circuit. Rather than call the HOA, I took it upon myself to hire an electrician to run a 240v/50 amp line to the garage from my meter (a 75-80 ft run). The HOA inspection team was doing a walk-through of the complex in the middle of the job and got a little ruffled about my impertinence, but when I explained to them that I had inadvertently been charging my Chevy Volt on the HOA electric bill and thought it best to pay for that electricity myself, they backed off.

When I got my Model S, I called the electrician back to install the 14-50 socket with no further bother from the HOA. It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

cdc11235 | 6 March 2019

Short answer to your question is no. California stage law requires HOA to let you install EV charging equipment in your own assigned space, or, if that is not reasonable, to install in a public space with you leasing from them. They cannot any restriction that significantly increases the cost or reduces the efficiency. They can impose reasonable restrictions, but the law explicitly says that the state typically sides with the tenant if there is a disagreement.

See Civil Code § 4745 – Electric Vehicle Charging Stations.

kmmccrady | 7 March 2019

Disclaimer -- not in California, but Washington. I serve on two different Condo Boards, and we have had extensive discussions about this very issue. In both of these complexes, we have turned down installation of charging stations.

While the parking spots are part of the condo legally, the parking structure and the parking lots are common element. Which means, as you will know, the maintenance belongs to the community as a whole.

Modifications to individual parking spots are dictated by the CC&Rs of each individual complex, but most boards have some ability to grant waivers.

The issues I see as a board member:

1. How many spaces in the garage. How far away is each space from their individual meters?

2. As people begin to move toward electric cars, what is the long-term plan for charging and metering.

3. What are the aesthetic and value driven results of multiple charge stations?

4. What needs to happen with the electric boxes to accommodate?

5. How will individual owners pay for their personal usage?

6. Are there any structural changes that need to happen to accommodate -- and any permitting and inspections that need to be done as modifications to the electric grid are made.

I understand this feels frustrating. As a board member, my responsibility lies with looking long-term for the impacts and consequences going forward. If you do not like the solution proposed, research other options and then present to the board. I am always more likely to say 'yes' to a well-researched solution.

As you your concern about cost -- it cost me $3,000 to have my personal box upgraded and charger installed on a single family dwelling. $5,000 to install in what is essentially a commercial space, long-distance from a source does not seem out of line.

Do not install and ask forgiveness. You can open yourself to fines and having to undo any work done. Keep in mind, this is modification of a common area, even if the space is your personal property.

kmmccrady | 7 March 2019

Disclaimer -- not in California, but Washington. I serve on two different Condo Boards, and we have had extensive discussions about this very issue. In both of these complexes, we have turned down installation of charging stations.

While the parking spots are part of the condo legally, the parking structure and the parking lots are common element. Which means, as you will know, the maintenance belongs to the community as a whole.

Modifications to individual parking spots are dictated by the CC&Rs of each individual complex, but most boards have some ability to grant waivers.

The issues I see as a board member:

1. How many spaces in the garage. How far away is each space from their individual meters?

2. As people begin to move toward electric cars, what is the long-term plan for charging and metering.

3. What are the aesthetic and value driven results of multiple charge stations?

4. What needs to happen with the electric boxes to accommodate?

5. How will individual owners pay for their personal usage?

6. Are there any structural changes that need to happen to accommodate -- and any permitting and inspections that need to be done as modifications to the electric grid are made.

I understand this feels frustrating. As a board member, my responsibility lies with looking long-term for the impacts and consequences going forward. If you do not like the solution proposed, research other options and then present to the board. I am always more likely to say 'yes' to a well-researched solution.

As you your concern about cost -- it cost me $3,000 to have my personal box upgraded and charger installed on a single family dwelling. $5,000 to install in what is essentially a commercial space, long-distance from a source does not seem out of line.

Do not install and ask forgiveness. You can open yourself to fines and having to undo any work done. Keep in mind, this is modification of a common area, even if the space is your personal property.

rxlawdude | 7 March 2019

Fortunately, California law is apparently more enlightened than Washington's regarding this topic.

But you bring up a good point: if one's parking space is not assigned, it would be difficult to control anyone from parking (or ICEing) your charger. Overall, though, California law makes it as easy as possible for an owner to install their own EV charging equipment.

Tesla2018 | 7 March 2019

Could you make a deal with someone that alreasy has a charger to let you park in their spot and they could park at yours at various times or specfic days assuming you both dont need to charge every day. You could agree to pay their entire charging bill each month since it would be cheaper than paying $5000 to have your own unit installed.

Only problem would be if your HOA monitors where you park and gives fines for parking in other people's spaces. A friend of mine lived in a condo and his neighbor was only there for part of the year and owned three units so she had three spaces. Even though they weren't being used he still had to have a Written Letter stating that she gave him permission to park there because he bought a second car and didn't have any place to keep it. They wouldn't accept a verbal authorization or phone call.