You are Entitled to Install an EV Charging Station at Your Apartment

You have ditched your fuel-powered car and now own an electric vehicle (EV). The planet thanks you, your neighbors thank you and the State of California thanks you for making this environmentally sound decision.

Better yet, we have great news for you if you live in a multi-unit apartment building. California law makes it easy for residential tenants to get approval from their landlord to install an EV charging station at a designated parking spot where they live! This means you can charge your EV while you sleep and wake up to a fully charged car and get on your way!

California Law Makes it Simple for Tenants to get the Go-Ahead to Install an EV Charging Station

Here is a brief summary of California Civil Code Section §1947.6: For leases executed or renewed after July 1, 2015, a residential landlord shall not unreasonably deny a tenant’s written request to install an EV charging station in an assigned parking space, provided it complies with various technical requirements and other applicable laws.

While this civil code has been in effect since 2015, there may still be instances where a landlord is unfamiliar with how, or is unwilling, to comply with the law. 

Lucky for you, your landlord has no choice! 

As a tenant, knowing your rights and responsibilities puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to getting your Landlord’s approval. Let’s translate the basics of the California Civil Code for you and you’ll be ready to exercise your right to install a super-convenient EV charging station at your home parking space!

The Law Requires a Written Request to the Landlord; What Should Be Included in the Letter?

The law requires a residential tenant to send his or her landlord a written request to install the EV charging station on the property. Take out your pen and paper, email will not work for this task. Further, you will want proof that you sent the letter so take the time to mail it rather than drop it in a mail slot at the landlord’s office. Request a signature upon acceptance or pay a bit extra at the post office for “Return Receipt Requested.” This is a CYA move that can protect you!

Provisions you need to address in your written request:

  1. Installation, use, maintenance and removal of the charging station and related infrastructure
  2. Designation of responsible party for compliance with state requirements and guidelines
  3. Requirements for insurance* for property damage and personal injury
  4. Complete financial analysis and scope of work, regarding the charging station’s installation and infrastructure, supplied by tenant to landlord
  5. Tenant’s obligation to pay all costs of installation, electrical usage associated with charging station, and maintenance and repair costs.

If you already have an assigned parking space included in your lease, you are golden! If an assigned spot is not included in your lease agreement, your landlord may choose to charge you a monthly fee for a designated EV parking space.

Who Pays for Insurance?

Great question! The law is on the tenant’s side for this topic, as well! Your landlord cannot require you to pay a dime for insurance if both of the following conditions apply:

  • The EV charging station you buy  has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that is approved by OSHA.
  • Installation of your EV charging station and any associated alterations to the structure’s electrical system are performed by a licensed electrician.

Make it easy and cheaper for yourself; buy a certified charging station and have it installed by a licensed electrician! Done. 

NOTE: If you do not meet both of the above two conditions, your landlord may pass along the cost of insurance to you, the tenant. However, the law states that “the amount of insurance required may not exceed 10 times the annual rent charged.”

Who Pays for the Electricity Used to Charge Your EV?

Another great question! The tenant is responsible for paying for all electricity associated with the EV charging station, according to the California civil code. But, how will the landlord charge you? Will your rent be increased? Will you be sent a separate bill? 

These questions are up for discussion. Having answers on hand, when speaking with your landlord, will be very helpful. 

One way to handle the electricity bill for EV charging is the ShinePay cashless payment system. With this simple and ingenious app, your landlord won’t have to monitor your electric usage and track your accrued fees.

Here’s how ShinePay Works: 

You and your landlord download the ShinePay app on your smartphones and set up accounts in minutes. 

When you are ready to charge your EV, you open the ShinePay app on your smartphone, scan the QR code on the ShinePay device installed on your EV charger and plug the charger into your car.

ShinePay automatically tracks how much electricity you use and charges your credit card associated with your account. 

The landlord has access to a dashboard on their ShinePay app and can transfer funds into their bank account on demand. 

Could a Landlord Deny a Tenant’s Request to Install an EV Charging Station?

Your residential landlord is not required by law to approve your request if any of the following conditions apply in your situation.

  • Parking is not provided as part of your lease agreement;
  • There are fewer than five tenant parking spaces on the property;
  • Ten percent of all existing tenant parking spaces on the property already are equipped with EV charging stations;
  • The property is subject to a rent control ordinance, excluding leases executed, extended or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2019;
  • The property is subject to both a rent control ordinance and an ordinance, adopted on or before Jan. 1, 2018, which requires the landlord to approve a written request to install a charging station at an allotted parking space.

As we said, any of the above conditions could give your landlord a reason to turn down your request to install an EV charging station by your parking spot. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a request anyway! 

As electric vehicles become more and more popular, finding EV charging stations already installed in multi-family residences will become more common. You could be the person who gives your landlord a reason to take that step until the future. 

You have absolutely nothing to lose and a convenient place to charge your EV to gain.  Write the letter and make your case. Good luck!