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UPDATE: Electric Vehicle Charging Act Signed Into Law – What Do Illinois Community Associations Need to Know?

Date

July 5, 2023

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7 minutes

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Woman charging her electric vehicle outside of a condo building

This article was updated from the original version published on May 17, 2023

Governor Pritzker recently signed into law the Electric Vehicle Charging Act (“Act”), which imposes certain requirements for “newly constructed single-family homes and multi-unit residential buildings” with parking spaces, including condominium and community associations, to foster widespread adoption of electric vehicles (“EVs”).  In particular, the Act gives unit owners and residents of certain Illinois condominiums and community associations the right to install charging equipment for EVs for their designated parking spaces. Importantly, the Act only grants the right to install EV charging equipment to unit owners of condominium and community associations constructed or established after the date the Act goes into effect (i.e., after January 1, 2024) and thus unit owners in condominium and community associations existing as of January 1, 2024 do not have a right under the Act to install EV charging equipment.  Note: The Act is different from the proposed City of Chicago “Right to Charge” Ordinance (discussed below), which remains proposed and not adopted

Specific questions regarding the Act are answered below.

Does the Act Apply to Existing Community Associations?

No. As noted above, the Act applies to “newly constructed single-family homes and multi-unit residential buildings that have parking spaces and are constructed after the effective date of this Act.”  As such, the Act only applies to newly constructed (or developer-converted) condominium or community associations; it does not apply to condominium or community associations in existence at the time the Act takes effect.

Does the Act Authorize Unit Owners to Install EV Charging Systems?

Yes. The Act permits unit owners of newly constructed / newly established community associations to tie into the common element electrical system and install an EV charging system to serve their designated parking space (i.e., deeded parking unit or designated / limited common element parking right), subject to certain terms summarized below. 

Where Can Unit Owners Install EV Charging Systems?

Per the Act, unit owners to whom the Act applies may install EV charging systems: (a) in designated parking spaces (i.e., a deeded parking unit or designated / limited common element parking right); or (b) “in a common area that is not an exclusive use common area” (i.e., in a common element area), but only if “installation in the unit owner’s designated parking space is impossible or unreasonably expensive”.  For EV charging systems installed in the common element areas, the requesting unit owner and the association are required to (“shall”) enter into a license agreement for use of such space subject to the required terms noted below.

What Are the Terms for Installing an EV Charging System?

The following terms apply for installation of an EV charging system in a common area or exclusive use common area (i.e., limited common element area):

  1. Board Approval: The requesting unit owner must obtain prior written approval of the board, which approval must be granted if the unit owner agrees in writing to the terms listed below. 
    • Note: Per the Act, board approval is deemed granted if the board does not issue a written denial within 60 days of receipt of an application to install an EV charging system “unless the delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information”. 
  2. Architectural Standards; Building Code: Installation of the EV charging system must be in compliance with the association’s architectural standards or “other reasonable conditions and restrictions” as well as applicable State and local health and safety standards. 
  3. Installation by a Qualified Contractor: The requesting unit owner must engage a duly licensed and insured electrical contractor to install the EV charging system.
  4. Insurance: The requesting unit owner must maintain certain liability insurance coverage for the EV charging system and provide proof thereof on an annual basis. 
  5. Costs: The requesting unit owner is responsible for the following costs: (a) installation of the EV charging system; (b) repair of any damage caused by installation, use, maintenance, repair, replacement, or removal of the EV charging system; and (c) electricity usage (submeter or “a reasonable estimation of cost, based on the average miles driven, efficiency of the electric vehicle . . .  and the cost of electricity for the common area.”).

Can the Community Association Board Impose Additional Restrictions on Installing an EV Charging System?

Yes, the Act expressly permits community association boards to impose “reasonable restrictions” on electric vehicle charging systems, which term the Act expressly defines as a restriction  that “does not significantly increase the cost of the electric vehicle charging station or electric vehicle charging system or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance.”

Note: For any community association that is subject to the Act, any provision of the governing documents or any instrument affecting the transfer or sale of any unit that “effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging system” in a parking unit or limited common element parking space is void. 

What About Renters – Does the Act Allow Them to Install an EV Charging System?

Yes, the Act permits renters to install certain EV charging systems, subject to certain terms contained in the Act, many of which are similar to those listed above for EV charging systems installed by unit owners. 

My Community Association Is Not “New” – Can I Install an EV Charging System?

Since the Act only applies to newly constructed or established community associations, it does not grant a right to install EV charging equipment to unit owners of community associations in existence at the time the Act takes effect.  As such, unless the community association’s governing documents grant a right to tie into the common element electrical system and install an EV charging system, unit owners do not have a right to do so.

Even if unit owners are not entitled to install an EV charging system, they may request that the Board permit them to do so on mutually acceptable terms, which may be similar to the terms listed in the Act since the same business, legal and practical considerations apply to allowing a unit owner to install an EV charging system. If the board is inclined to grant a unit owner’s request to install an EV charging system, it is highly recommended and a best practice to require that a formal written license agreement is prepared and executed by the board and unit owner covering business and legal terms of the arrangement.

What About EV Capability for Community Associations?

Yes. The Act imposes certain EV capability requirements for newly established community associations with parking spaces, depending on the number of units in the association.  These EV capability requirements for newly constructed / established community associations are summarized as follows:

Community Association TypeEV-Capability Requirement
Small (2-4 Units)At least one EV-capable parking space per unit with designated parking.
Large (5+ Units) – New Construction100% of parking spaces are EV-capable.
Large (5+ Units) – Developer Conversion of Existing Building100% of parking spaces are EV-capable, except “if it would necessitate the developer having to excavate an existing surface lot or other parking facility in order to retro-fit the parking lot or facility with the necessary conduit and wiring.”

Note: The Act also includes specific EV-capability requirements for parking spaces in newly constructed / established affordable housing community associations.

What Are the Penalties for Failing to Comply with the Act?

Associations that willfully violate the Act are liable to the unit owner for actual damages as well as a civil penalty not to exceed $500. The Act also includes a one-sided attorneys’ fees provision in favor of unit owners. This means that unit owners can recover their attorneys’ fees to enforce the Act, but an association cannot collect attorneys’ fees from a unit owner for defending against an enforcement action.

What About the Proposed City of Chicago “Right to Charge” Ordinance – Any Update?

To date, this Ordinance remains proposed and not yet adopted. 

For purposes of background, this proposed Ordinance grants Chicago unit owners (and tenants) the right to tie into a community association’s garage common electrical system to install an EV charging system to serve their “exclusive” parking space (i.e., parking unit or limited common element parking space) so long as certain conditions are met.  Click here for our datapoint on the proposed “Right to Charge” Ordinance. 

Where Can I Find Text of the Act?

Text of the Act is available here

LP is committed to keeping our community association clients informed of, and prepared to proactively and successfully navigate, any changes in the law. For questions regarding the Electric Vehicle Charging Act, or other issues facing your condominium or community association, please contact Howard Dakoff, Laura Marinelli, Adam Kahn, or Molly Mackey of LP’s Community Association Group.


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