Electric Vehicle Charging in Condos

September 1, 2018 | Real Estate Perspectives

Do you currently own or plan to own an electric vehicle (EV)? Do you also happen to live in a condo though, and worry about how you’re going to charge your car’s battery?

That’s something that’s on the minds of a lot of downtown Toronto condo dwellers, since the necessary infrastructure simply isn’t there in most residences for electric vehicle charging in condos.

Electric vehicle use is up in Toronto, and it is estimated by the year 2020 that the number of EVs on roads will triple from our current numbers! And not all of those drivers will be living in houses, where it is admittedly easier to power up. Toronto’s changing density is shifting more and more people into condos, and they should also have the choice to purchase and EV or not. 

Under the old rules

Thankfully however, the Condominium Act, 1998 (“The Act”) has just recently been updated this year to reflect the changes coming to condos in regards to EV use. In the old days of The Act, a unit owner had to request permission from the condo board of directors to allow the installation of a car charging station, since it was considered a modification to the common elements. The board could either approve or not approve a request, on any grounds they wished to do, and a unit owner with an EV would be left with no other choice than to stay put in their condo or give up the environmentally responsible dream of an electric vehicle.  

Under the new rules

Now however, new changes to The Act make it easier for an EV owner to get a charging station installed in their parking space. With a proper written application submitted to the condo corporation from an owner, the corporation must respond within 60 days to the request, and that request can only be denied if it goes against a few specific scenarios, such as: an expert stating that the installation of a charging station goes against the structural integrity of the building or the Electrical Safety Code, or poses a serious health of safety risk to a person or to aspects of the condo itself. 

Interestingly, any EV charging system that is installed in a parking space is organized with a joint agreement between the corporation and the owner, and it’s something that’s registered on title so that it can be passed forward to a new owner in the event of a future sale. Essentially, it’s increasing the property value, since it’s an improvement to the ownership that carries forward with owners. 

Condos with electric vehicle charging stations

In the meanwhile, however, any condos that already have electric charges installed in either individual owned parking spaces or for general use by residents are ahead of the curve and will be in demand by owners of EVs. And there aren’t that many in existence. Off the top of my head, I know that Yorkville Park in central Yorkville and The Jack at Yonge & St. Clair will have charging options available, but these buildings are still under construction. The Tip Top Lofts at Lakeshore & Bathurst have them available for some owners, and some Tridel condos like 300 Front Street West have them too, but as you can see, the list is very short.

It’s probably going to take a surge of EV ownership demand and a swell in the number of installation requests to condo boards to switch existing buildings over to the new wave of EV charging stations. The sooner this becomes the norm, the better for everyone – the environment included!